Nissan to invest in Renault's new EV company, striking balance in alliance

Peng Chen, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida, Renault CEO Luca de Meo and Mitsubishi Motors CEO Takao Kato. Credit: AFP

Nissan Motor and Renault Group will collaborate under an enhanced partnership. The pair officially announced on February 6 the 15% cross-shareholding to take effect in the future. Moreover, Nissan will invest Ampere, Renault's EV company, up to 15% to gain business opportunities in Europe.

Joined by their alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan and Renault held a press conference in London on Monday. According to a joint announcement, Renault will transfer 28.4% of its own Nissan shares into a French trust. The automaker will instruct the trustee to sell the shares when it is commercially reasonable.

The move reduced Renault's stakes in its Japanese partner to 15%, the same as Nissan's shareholding of Renault. Both companies will have 15% of the exercisable voting rights, another gain for Nissan.

According to Reuters, Renault CEO Luca de Meo said the French carmaker can now operate like a normal company with a more straightforward governance scheme. It will regain strategic agility without breaking the existing ties between partners.

Renault and Nissan intend to enter into a new alliance agreement by the end of March this year. As part of the alliance restructuring, Nissan plans to become a strategic investor of Ampere and hold 15% of its shares. Makoto Uchida, Nissan's CEO, said at the press meeting that Ampere would enable Nissan to access new opportunities in Europe. No further details were disclosed on this collaboration.

Takao Kato, Mitsubishi's CEO, also said the company will consider investing in the EV unit.

Renault plans to list Ampere later this year and has secured investors like Qualcomm. de Meo did not reveal the company's value on Monday but said Renault has no intention to let China-based Geely Automobile Holdings participate in the EV enterprise.

Renault and Geely announced a joint venture in November 2022 focusing on internal combustion engines and hybrid powertrains. According to Nikkei Asia, de Meo said the partnership aims to help Renault's business in South Korea and its adaptation to gasoline and diesel cars regulations in Europe.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance also revealed their incoming joint projects in Latin America, India and Europe on Monday. The partners currently operate a plant and engineering center in Chennai, India. They said several new vehicle projects, including new SUVs for India and overseas markets, will be launched.

Renault will roll out FlexEVan on the light commercial vehicle market in Europe and share the model with Nissan. It would be the first software-defined vehicle in the alliance. The duo also plans to jointly develop charging infrastructure.

According to the announcement, Mitsubishi will leverage Renault's assets to develop two new vehicles in Europe. Both Nissan and Mitsubishi will become customers of Renault's Horse project, which focusing on low-emission ICE and hybrid powertrain technologies.