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Nissan-Renault alliance

Nissan-Renault to launch new company for next-gen tech

Alliance leaders aim to fix strained ties with forward-looking initiative

Companies in the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance still hold concerns about sharing advanced technology. (Photo by Anthony Bernier, courtesy of Renault) 

PARIS/TOKYO -- The automaker alliance of Nissan Motor, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors are in talks to set up a new company to jointly develop technologies for next-generation vehicles, such as artificial intelligence and electric propulsion, Nikkei has learned.

By bringing together the technologies and human resources of the trio, the venture will aim for more efficient vehicle development, which requires huge research costs.

Executives from the three companies began discussing the proposal at a meeting Thursday at Renault headquarters on the outskirts of Paris. A year after the arrest of former alliance leader Carlos Ghosn, efforts to build a new relationship are taking shape.

Details including investment ratios will be decided later.

Multiple sources at Renault and Nissan confirmed the plan is under discussion. The alliance is considering including the strategy in a joint management plan to be announced by the end of the year, the sources said.

Nissan and Renault have been integrating their development functions since 2014, jointly creating chassis and engines. The new company will focus exclusively on technology for next generation cars, such as AI and communication functions. There are still reservations within the alliance about sharing such technologies, sources said.

Automobile rivals General Motors and Toyota Motor, as well as tech companies such as Google parent, Alphabet, have a head start in the development of autonomous driving, the heart of next-gen cars. The alliance believes the best way forward is to combine the tech and talent of the three partners.

Tensions between Nissan and Renault surfaced in the turmoil triggered by Ghosn's arrest for financial mismanagement in November 2018. With Executive Vice President Makoto Uchida assuming the Nissan CEO post Sunday, it provides the alliance a chance to move forward with a clean slate.

Additional reporting by Ryo Asayama in Tokyo

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