Clear Fissures Emerge In Nissan, Renault And Mitsubishi Alliance

Japanese car maker Nissan complained on Monday that it had not been allowed to put in a complete explanation of why it fired Carlos Ghosn in late November to the board of the French car maker Renault which led bare the differences and tension in the largest auto alliance of the world – which includes another Japanese auto maker Mitsubishi.

Despite both the Japanese companies removing Ghosn as the chairman after he was arrested on charges of financial misconduct in Japan, he has still been retained as the CEO and chairman of Renault. Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa told reporters that the company intends to make it clear and share incriminating evidence of the “significant” wrongdoing by Ghosn that is had been able to collect so far to the board of its French partner. But that chance has not been given by Renault and only the lawyers of the French auto company could be briefed by Nissan so far.

This situation underscores the significant differences that exist between the partners in the alliance about the manner in which the charges against Ghosn should be handled. .

“We would like to explain to [Renault’s board] if we are given the chance,” Saikawa said after a meeting of Nissan’s board. “We hope Renault’s board directors will listen to the explanation.”

Ghosn was indicted last week in a Japanese court of allegations of having wrongly reported between 2010 and 2015, a reduced amount for his income in Nissan corporate filings by about 5 billion yen ($44 million. He was also rearrested by prosecutors over new allegations about discrepancies in his income disclosure between 2015 and 2018.

Ghosn is denying the allegations against him, reported Japanese public broadcaster NHK last week, quoting unidentified sources.

While keeping Ghosn on its payroll Renault has appointed a new interim management.,

The arrest and subsequent ouster of Ghosn from two Japanese companies had brought out in open the differences in the alliance which had only been rumored about till now.

A question related to a report published in the Wall Street Journal about Renault seeking an emergency meeting with its shareholders with the intention of discussing strategies of re-establishing control over its Japanese partner were not replied to by Saikawa. 43 per cent voting rights of Nissan is with Renault.

The alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors is operational in almost 2000 countries and employs more than 470,000 people. In 2017, more than 10.7 million cars were sold by the alliance globally.

Apart from having Ghosn as the chairman, the three companies also share ownership stakes and share technology and manufacturing facilities.

This means that breaking up the alliance is next to impossible.

“All sides need each other because they have no alternative,” said Campbell Gunn, a senior adviser at investment firm Tap Japan. “It’s impossible to unwind these relationships and set up new ones.”

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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