Nissan execs step up planning for potential Renault split: FT

Nissan's recently appointed CEO Makoto Uchida has been working closely with Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard on several combined projects for the alliance.
Nissan's recently appointed CEO Makoto Uchida has been working closely with Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard on several combined projects for the alliance.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Nissan Motor executives have stepped up contingency planning for a possible split from Renault after Carlos Ghosn's dramatic escape from Japan, the Financial Times reported, citing people it didn't identify.

The preliminary discussions for a separation include a total divide in engineering and manufacturing as well as changes to Nissan's board, according to the newspaper. Renault and Nissan declined to comment, the FT said.

Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, who is due to announce several combined projects for the alliance in coming weeks, held doubts about the partnership enduring when he replaced Ghosn last year, the paper said. Nissan's recently appointed CEO Makoto Uchida has been working closely with Senard on these new projects, a person close to Nissan management said. But even during the Ghosn era, according to people close to Nissan, some engineers weren't happy about Ghosn's push to combine engineering and manufacturing.

According to the newspaper, both carmakers would likely seek new partners in the event of a full split.

Ghosn, the former head of both companies, built up Renault-Nissan over the past two decades. He escaped from house arrest in Japan in late December and resurfaced in Lebanon, saying he wouldn't stand trial on charges of financial crimes "in a rigged Japanese justice system."