Renault reportedly plans to restart Nissan merger talks in bid to buy out Fiat-Chrysler

  • French carmaker Renault is keen to restart its merger plans with Nissan, then buy another firm, the Financial Times reported. Fiat-Chrysler is “among the preferred targets.”
  • Renault and Japanese automaker Nissan already have an alliance alongside Mitsubishi. A merger was a long standing plan of embattled former CEO Carlos Ghosn.
  • Fiat-Chrysler is said to be keen on a potential merger or partnership and has been in contact with other rivals in the past.

One of the world’s largest car making alliances may be on a path to become even larger.

French automaker Renault is planning to restart merger talks with Japanese carmaker Nissan in the next 12 months, according to the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter. The merged company may then buy another auto firm, the FT said, with Fiat-Chrysler “among the preferred targets.”

Renault and Nissan have had a strategic partnership, which later included Mitsubishi, since 1999.

Fiat-Chrysler has a market capitalisation of about €21 billion ($US24 billion). Combined, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, have a value of more than €50 billion, the FT said.

Fiat-Chrysler shares jumped more than 3.5% on the news. Renault was up 2.9% in French trading.

A Renault-Nissan merger was partly the brainchild of former executive at the automakers, Carlos Ghosn. The 64 year-old was recently released on bail from Japanese jail having been arrested in November for allegedly misreporting his salary and compensation, charges which he denies.

FCA has previously floated the idea of potentially merging or partnering up with another carmaker, but a deal with Renault and Nissan may not work out if their deal takes a long time to complete, according to sources familiar with the matter, cited by the FT.

The car making alliance is also planning to shelve €10 billion cost cutting plans by 2022 and cut targets to expand vehicle sales to 14 million, people with knowledge of those plans told the FT.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is a major carmaking powerhouse with the alliance selling more than 10.6 million cars in 2017, which would be the most of any single automaker.

Representatives for Renault and Nissan declined to comment to the Financial Times.

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