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Renault will keep Nissan and Mitsubishi independent: Ghosn

'Zero chance' of a takeover, alliance chief assures investors in Tokyo

Carlos Ghosn says diverse membership makes the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance unique.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- The alliance of Renault, Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors is a partnership of equals, and there is no possibility of the French company fully taking over the Japanese automakers as the relationship is revamped, alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn said on Friday.

Anyone who asks Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors "to become wholly owned subsidiaries of Renault has zero chance" of succeeding, Ghosn said during a question-and-answer period while chairing Mitsubishi Motors' annual shareholders meeting here. There have been many examples of failure when one company has tried to dominate, he stressed.

He assured investors that the independence of each alliance member will be respected and that decisions on capital and other partnerships will take Mitsubishi Motors' interests into account. Ghosn is chairman of the board at each of the three automakers.

The French government -- Renault's top shareholder, with a 15% stake -- has requested reshaping the three-way alliance into a sustainable framework. Ghosn aims to re-examine the partnership's structure, including the current capital relationship, by 2022.

Ghosn had said in April that all options were open in revamping the Renault-Nissan cross-shareholding arrangement, suggesting that a closer capital integration was a possibility.

But at Friday's meeting, he said an equal partnership is essential to maintaining employee motivation and remaining competitive. He showed markedly more consideration to the Japanese alliance members than he had at Renault's own shareholders meeting a week before.

The diversity of the trio is a strength that should be maintained and distinguishes the alliance from Toyota Motor and Volkswagen, Ghosn said.

Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko said that the partnership reflects the "wisdom to survive in changing times" and that the company will advance on a growth path by effectively exploiting the alliance's strengths.

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