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Nissan and Renault deny alliance has hit the skids

Sky News logo Sky News 14/01/2020
a black sign with white letters: The alliance has run for 20 years and been credited with saving billions of dollars in R&D costs © Getty The alliance has run for 20 years and been credited with saving billions of dollars in R&D costs

Renault and Nissan have moved to end speculation that their cost-sharing alliance has hit breaking point in the fallout from the Carlos Ghosn affair.

The companies, which teamed up 20 years ago with Mitsubishi, released separate statements in the wake of a Financial Times report that Nissan wanted out and had begun contingency planning.

The newspaper's story helped tip shares in Nissan and Renault to levels not seen for several years - eight-and-a-half year lows in the Japanese firm's case.

The arrest of Mr Ghosn, the architect of the partnership, in Japan in 2018 on allegations of financial misconduct brought long-standing tensions in the alliance to the surface.

His subsequent escape over the festive season topped headlines around the world and focused attention on the companies' future as Mr Ghosn, who denies any wrongdoing, makes counter claims against Nissan.

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He told a news conference in his Beirut bolt hole that he was a victim of a conspiracy involving Nissan and the Japanese authorities to get him out of the company - allegations that have been denied.

In its reaction to the FT's story, Nissan dismissed what it called "speculative international media reports".

Its statement said: "The alliance is the source of Nissan's competitiveness.

"Through the alliance, to achieve sustainable and profitable growth, Nissan will look to continue delivering win-win results for all member companies."

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The chairman of Renault, Jean-Philippe Senard, told Belgian newspaper L'Echo the partnership was "solid, robust, everything but dead."

Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, described reports of a split as "malicious".

The French state has interests in the partnership through its stake in Renault.

The alliance works by allowing the companies to share research and development costs along with vehicle parts.

Despite the tension over the Carlos Ghosn affair, there is intense pressure to maintain the agreement as the car industry faces heavy investment in electric technology at a time of falling auto sales globally.

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