Currently reading: Nissan accelerates plan to split with Renault, reports suggest
Financial Times reports senior Nissan executives are pushing forward a secret plan to engineer Alliance split after Carlos Ghosn’s escape from custody in Japan
2 mins read
13 January 2020

Nissan is reportedly pushing through a secret plan to split itself from Alliance partner Renault as the fallout from Carlos Ghosn’s downfall continues. 

The Financial Times cites several sources reporting senior executives are formulating a contingency plan in which they would negotiate a total divide between the two brands in engineering and manufacturing departments. This has reportedly accelerated since Ghosn fled charges of financial misconduct in Japan late last year. 

Changes to Nissan’s board would also follow as a map to a potential split is drawn out. Efforts have recently been made to improve relations on both side, but the Financial Times reports the partnership - which produces 10 million cars annually - has soured. Many executives at the Japanese firm believe Renault is a drag on its success. 

A split would likely result in both makers forging partnerships elsewhere in order to maintain competitiveness in the face of rising research and development costs and falling sales. It would come at the worst time as new alliances, such as Fiat Chrysler (with whom Renault unsuccessfully attempted to merge last year) and PSA and Volkswagen and Ford, form lucrative relationships. 

Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is said to be revealing several combined projects in coming weeks to show that the Alliance is still on good terms, but people within Nissan claim his efforts to present unification badly misread the general mood of workers. 

A split would mark the end of nearly two decades of co-operation. At a press conference after he left Japan, Ghosn claimed Nissan executives had co-ordinated with the Japanese government to orchestrate his arrest because they were unhappy with Renault’s more significant voting rights on decisions within the Alliance, of which he led the creation in 1999.

 Read more:

Carlos Ghosn trashes Nissan and Japanese legal system, reaffirms innocence

Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi promise "new start" to alliance

New Daimler boss could end Renault Nissan partnership


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Read our review

Car review
DS 7 Crossback 2018 road test review hero front

PSA’s luxury brand takes on the established order with its new SUV flagship, which comes with plenty of Gallic charm

Join the debate


19 June 2019

Oh boy I do hope it falls apart. As someone who has been a customer of Nissan and has friends who work with Nissan, they have significantly deteriorated in quality since the Renault alliance as well as been stifled in innovation. 

As an enthusiast I can't help but be hopeful for Nissan. You used to be cool! now all your sports cars are over 10 years old and you just churn out Jukes and Qashqais. Come back swinging Nissan! 

19 June 2019

The need to open up and supply a segment with mass-market product is what a company like Nissan does. It did this very successfully with the Juke and Qashqai and dominated the segment. I'm at a loss why you would criticize them for having saved themselves by doing so. Selling cars to enthusiasts (less than 0.01% of the market) isn't their job - profitability is.

19 June 2019

Does that now make them the 'rebel alliance'?

19 June 2019
Could be interesting....

19 June 2019
Rensult has been dragging them down for years.

19 June 2019

Not really. As the sedan market has cooled off. The waves of SUV 's have kept both companies profitable and the shared component and engineering with Mercedes-Benz on small cars has not hurt either.  The thought that they could make money building halo sports cars is laughable. Daily transportation for the masses is their bread and butter.

19 June 2019

The build quality and reliability of Nissans under the alliance with Renault have been rubbish (talking from personal experience here). Hopefully they separate and start using their own engines and running gear to make them the affordable alternative to Toyota / Honda like they once were (I don't include Mazda in that company as I've had terrible experiences with their cars too). 

19 June 2019

What rubbish, Nissans sales and reliability before Renault was dire, thats why the company was so close to Bankruptcy that if Renault had not stepped in when they did, Nissan would have closed less than a month later, and that is a fact, Renault makes more profit than Nissan and invests more in joint products, Nissan has the ability and wherewithall to build what they want, they do not need permission from Renault, they are an alliance, not a corporate entity, so for some to moan that the Sports cars (which are not selling and never did) are 10 years old, well, thats all down to Nissan, Renault Has spent a vast fortune on the Alliances SUV's so for anyone to moan about Jukes and Cashcows, grow up, they are the cars that are selling these days, so they either build them or go bust again.I believe Renault would be far better off with No Nissan or Mitsubishi, but with Mercedes and or FCA, they are a better fit, and more open and honest, the Japanese brands are so sly and sneaky it is unbelieveable, the fact that they have plotted for five years to shift out Ghosn, when it was him that saved the entire Alliance.

23 January 2020

Nissan made some great cars before the tie up with Renault. Not only great to drive and class-leading practical cars like the Almera and Primera, but they were also very reliable. I know this from experience.

The Micra was once the best car in its class, and completely dependable with it, but since the Renault merger, the Micra has been awful in design, build and reliability - even the latest version has unforgivable flaws such as terrible rear seat space for such a new car that has also increased in size. As a result, many loyal Nissan customers have deserted the brand.

In terms of excitement and pure driving pleasure before the merger, Nissan had greats such as the 200 SX, the last generation Sunny GTi and supercar-killing Sunny GT-R, and both the hot hatch versions of the Almera and Primera that were critically acclaimed too (and countered the argument of them producing 'boring' cars).

Regarding money problems, Renault has been there many times itself in its history and only exists today thanks to the French government bailing it out. Also, being a Renault customer myself in the past, I've experienced the poor quality of their cars and substandard customer service. To back this up, Nissan now regularly joins Renault near the bottom of various manufacturer league tables for customer satisfaction which wasn't something that happened before the merger.

Whilst I can see some business sense with the Renault tie-up, and making money will always trump making good cars or keeping customers happy, it hasn't always worked out well for Nissan, and as a car enthusiast and consumer I've seen it destroy Nissan's once justified reputation for reliablity.

If Nissan do split with Renault, and revert back to their previous values and manufacturing their own components, I'd consider myself a potential customer again, even for an SUV.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week