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Nissan-Renault alliance

Nissan and Renault seek overhaul of alliance rules: French media

Japanese and French partners both unhappy with current pact

Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, left, and Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa at a news conference in Yokohama on March 12.   © Reuters

PARIS -- Nissan Motor and Renault are considering a full revamp of the rules governing their alliance, French business newspaper Les Echos reported Monday, as both automakers have recently become dissatisfied with the agreement.

The agreement governing their relationship, known as RAMA, lets Nissan increase its stake in Renault if subjected to inappropriate intervention from the French side and authorizes Renault to name Nissan's chief operating officer and higher-ranking executives, for example.

Nissan has been unhappy about the rules because they put Renault, the smaller of the two, in the leading role. Meanwhile, Renault complains that it cannot fully exercise its rights even though it is Nissan's top shareholder.

The two automakers are expected to scrap RAMA altogether and draw up new rules. Talks between them kicked into full gear around summer, but it is not clear when an agreement will be reached, according to Les Echos.

On tie-up negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Renault is considering including Nissan this time. The last talks, which ultimately collapsed, foresaw an equal merger between Renault and FCA, with Nissan left out. The Japanese automaker did not support the plan.

Nissan is reportedly eager to have Renault reduce its holdings of its shares. The French automaker has a 43% stake in the Japanese partner. A reduction to 20% to 25% would satisfy Nissan but not Renault, according to Les Echos.

French media reported Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa's resignation announcement Monday as breaking news. Le Point magazine saw the irony in Saikawa -- a leading critic of former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's alleged wrongdoings -- now falling himself.

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