Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Seeks ‘New Start’

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A meeting rumored to be targeted at developing a new board to oversee the Renault-Mitsubishi-Nissan Alliance took place earlier this week at Nissan’s global headquarters, sans Carlos Ghosn, with the automakers agreeing to a consensus-based governing strategy. At the heart of this pact is the need to diffuse tensions between France and Japan.

If you’ll recall, Nissan had grown perturbed by its perceived lack of autonomy within the alliance and repeated merger talk coming from Ghosn prior to his arrest. The man himself claimed that the corporate conflict is ultimately what led to his undoing — suggesting Nissan’s CEO simply wanted him out of the picture before he was fired.

It seems Japan got what it wanted at the meeting, with Jean-Dominique Senard (Ghosn’s replacement at Renault) saying the alliance would persist largely unchanged. Modifications to the agreement were limited to providing Nissan with more freedoms, quicker decision making, and the establishment of a new Alliance Operating Board. Meanwhile, everyone avoided answering questions about the alliance’s defamed architect.

According to Automotive News, the new board will be comprised of Renault CEO Thierry Bollore, Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa, Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko, with Senard serving as chair. Executives framed the decision as part of a “new start” for alliance whose members found themselves increasingly at odds with each other.

“For the alliance, this memorandum of understanding is a big new step,” Saikawa said. “This is a true partnership on equal footing… It’s a win, win, win approach based on consensus.”

“We want to enhance the spirit of this alliance and recreate the spirit the way it was at the very beginning of this alliance at the end of the 90s,” explained Senard. “That is an alliance that is based on the total balance and fast decision-making process, totally respectful of the cultures of our companies, respectful of our brands.”

From Automotive News:

A key priority of the overhaul is to speed decision making on joint projects, the executives said. Saikawa said the alliance lost slowed down on product as it increasingly obsessed about convergence, the alliance term for merging operations in a quest for cost savings.

“We were too much focused on convergence. People should have been more focused on project,” Saikawa said. “We want to change the speed of our operations.”

Alliance business will now be streamlined by organizing operations around so-called projects headed by one person across all companies. That person will report directly to the board.

The companies did not offer further details about who would lead what projects.

The new board will be the final word on all alliance business decisions, superseding the Netherlands-based Renault-Nissan BV and Nissan-Mitsubishi BV that now find themselves embroiled in the alleged financial misdeeds of alliance founder Carlos Ghosn. Since the scandal broke, all three automakers have tried to distance themselves from the strategic management firms. (Renault-Nissan BV has been under investigation since last month.)

“If this alliance shows what it promises, it’s going to be absolutely unique in the world,” Senard said. “The world will be surprised by the strength of this coming together.”

Currently, these decisions are only held together by a series of handshakes via a memorandum of understanding. However, formal agreements are expected to be signed in conjunction with the alliance’s March 27th anniversary.

[Image: Nissan]

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