Nissan may drop Renault's technology-sharing deal with Geely

Nissan may drop Renault’s technology-sharing deal with Geely

Nissan sees risks in Renault CEO Luca de Meo’s plan to merge the French carmaker’s combustion engine operations with Geely.

Nissan Motor Co. It is ready to abandon a deal with Renault SA to rebalance its alliance amid concerns the French carmaker will want to license hundreds of joint-patented technologies to other players, including new Chinese partner Zheijiang Geely Holding Group, people familiar with the negotiations said.

While the two sides appeared close to a final agreement two weeks ago, Nissan’s board and management recently expressed concern about Renault’s intellectual property plans, the people said, requesting anonymity because the information is not public.

It includes about 500 common technologies, one person said, including expertise in areas such as autonomous driving, hybrid drives, solid batteries, safety systems, battery management software and other knowledge important to developing autonomous, electrified vehicles.

Nissan sees risks in Renault CEO Luca de Meo’s plan to merge the French carmaker’s combustion engine operations with Geely, people said, and is seeking assurances that key technologies will be protected under any deal with the Hangzhou carmaker and its owners Volvo and Lotus. Sentences Trademarks.

Makoto Uchida, Nissan’s CEO, said he was surprised by the speculation that intellectual property discussion might derail the broader deal, but acknowledged that the technology was a “very important underlying asset to the alliance.”

Uchida said in an interview with Bloomberg Friday news. “This is my duty as CEO.”

Geely did not immediately respond to Bloomberg’s questions. A Renault representative declined to comment. Greater control talks have been underway for months to remake the two-decade-old alliance, which gives Renault more control over its Japanese partner. Under the current plan, the French company will reduce its ownership of Nissan over time to 15% from the current 43%. In turn, Nissan may be willing to invest $500 million to $750 million for a stake of about 15% in Renault’s planned new electric car unit, codenamed Ampere.

“There are things we can say that we can’t say yet because we’re not done yet,” Uchida said. “I have very close discussions with Luca. We respect each other, because I know Luca has to make Renault much stronger, and he knows I have to make Nissan stronger. And of course trust is the most important.”

Renault is scheduled to speak to investors on November 8, when De Meo is expected to provide an update on financial targets and the split plan.

“Renault, our partner, is going to have this capital markets day, and that’s what we have to support,” Uchida said. “And I want it to be successful.” Ghosn’s arrest A shift in ownership would ease an imbalance that has been a source of contention for years. Despite Renault’s huge share, it is the smallest automaker with sales of 2.7 million vehicles in 2021, compared to Nissan’s 4 million.

Carlos Ghosn arrested 2018, World Health Organization He was sent to run the auto industry alliance when Renault bailed out Nissan two decades ago, sowing the early seeds for rebalancing. The former chairman and CEO, who has denied the accusations, fled Japan in December 2019 while out on bail and is currently in Lebanon.

Although de Meo has indicated he is willing to split Renault with or without a deal with Nissan, the Japanese company’s withdrawal could make it difficult to get approval from the French state – which owns 15% of Renault and has dual voting rights – for such a move. transformative.

Nissan’s concerns mean that an agreement on rebalancing is unlikely to be announced as planned in mid-November, when managers from Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, the smaller member of the three-way alliance, meet in Tokyo. people said.

“Great technology, great assets”

Another sticking point is the amp rating. One person said the lack of a specific number backed by the data makes it difficult for Nissan to determine how much to invest in a stake in the new entity, which Renault wants to list publicly.

Uchida declined to comment on the timing of any announcement or on Ampere’s rating.

Under Renault’s plans, Ampere will be based in France It employs about 10,000 people by 2023. The entity that carries my generation, codenamed Horse, will have about 10,000 employees.

“We discussed how we can make our company-by-company alliance stronger under the difficult circumstances we face,” Uchida said. “That’s how it started. We also wanted to talk about how the alliance can multiply the great technology and great assets that both companies have.”

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