© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO – Renault 4 electric car presented at 2022 Paris Auto Show. France, October 17, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Gilles Guillaume, Maki Schiraki and David Dolan
PARIS/TOKYO – Technology sharing is a sticking point between the two sides. Renault Stocksak was told by two people familiar about the talks that SA (OTC-:) and Nissan Motor Co Ltd will be negotiating a restructuring of their decades-old partnership.
The French and Japanese automakers stated this month that they were in talks over the future of their alliance. This included Nissan potentially investing in an e-vehicle business being spun out from Renault (EPA).
Those discussions have included consideration of Renault selling some of its roughly 43% stake in Nissan, Stocksak previously reported, a move that would put the pair on a more equal footing and mark a seismic shift in an alliance founded in 1999 and long driven by executive-turned-fugitive Carlos Ghosn.
Two people spoke out to say that the sharing of intellectual properties has been a central focus of these talks, but declined to be identified because the information was not publicly available.
A “reboot” to the French automaker is more than just financial.
“What Nissan brings in intellectual properties, engineers, and common project is what matters,” said the person.
French dominance in the alliance has long been a source of contention, with Nissan holding only 15% Renault. Many Japanese automaker executives see the relationship as unbalanced, particularly in terms of development.
The concern of Nissan is the sharing future technology, such as the all-solid state batteries for electric cars that it is currently developing. According to the second person, the concern about sharing old technology is less.
Renault is separating its electric car business, codenamed Ampere, from its legacy internal-combustion engine unit, codenamed Horse, in order to catch up in an industry shift toward electrification led U.S. rival Tesla Inc.
Renault and Nissan declined comment.
POLITICS IN FOCUS
France’s government holds about 15% of Renault. Bruno Le Maire, finance minister, stated that they want Renault to retain its industrial and technological advantages.
Japan’s trade ministry questioned Nissan about his comments. One person said that Nissan had a stance.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has not responded to a request outside of regular business hours.
Stocksak previously reported that Renault wants Nissan and Nissan to invest in their electric vehicle units, while Nissan wants Renault and Nissan to cut their stake to 15%.
According to three people familiar with this matter, the pair have not reached an investment agreement as it is difficult for figures to be determined without a clear valuation of each unit.
Bloomberg News quoted a source saying that Nissan would invest between $500 million and $750 million in the unit in return for 15%.
According to a source familiar with negotiations, Renault is the more interested of the two due to its investment needs.
According to the person, there is no reason for Nissan to participate in the unit. He also cited Nissan’s need to justify the cost-effectiveness to shareholders.
Automakers plan to announce their plans on Nov. 15, but details are still being finalised and could take weeks, one person said.
According to a source familiar, Mitsubishi Motors (OTC) Corp will likely invest a little bit in the new Renault unit as a junior partner to the Alliance. This is to preserve its alliance relationship.
Mitsubishi stated that it has not yet entered into detailed consideration for investment.