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Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi to unveil strategic plan

By AFP - May 20,2020 - Last updated at May 20,2020

The assembly line producing both the electric car Renault Zoe and the hybrid vehicle Nissan Micra in Flins-sur-Seine on May 6 (AFP photo)

PARIS — Automakers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi may unveil next week a new strategic plan to boost synergies and repair their troubled alliance as the coronavirus pandemic lashes the industry.

      The three announced on Tuesday they would hold on May 27 "a joint press conference regarding the progress in Alliance activities."

      The three announced in January they planned to deepen cooperation as concerns mounted their alliance would split apart, and they could unveil which companies will take the lead in certain technologies or regions in order to cut costs.

      The more than 20-year partnership between Nissan and Renault, based on cross-shareholdings without a joint structure, was built by Carlos Ghosn who held senior roles in both companies.

      Ghosn turned around Nissan's fortunes and then helped build the world's largest automotive group with the addition of Mitsubishi.

      But the alliance was pushed to the brink following Ghosn's shock arrest in Tokyo in November 2018 on charges of financial misconduct, including under-reporting millions of dollars in salary.

      The fortunes of all three automakers flagged even before the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused sales to plunge as governments forced citizens to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus.

      The day following the announcement, Nissan plans to unveil restructuring measures along with results for its 2019-2020 fiscal year that are expected to show the automaker suffered a loss.

      Then it is Renault's turn on Friday, with the automaker having already said in February it aimed to achieve two billion euros ($2.2 billion) in savings over three years and did not exclude closing factories.

      Renault registered its first loss in more than a decade last year, its credit rating has been downgraded into junk territory by Standard and Poor's, and it is in line to receive a five billion euro loan backed by the French state to help it overcome the crisis.

      Ghosn, who denies the financial misconduct charges, fled to Lebanon after being released from a Japanese jail and is being pursued by both Renault and Nissan on civil charges, while French prosecutors are also looking into whether he wrongly obtained use of the Palace of Versailles for his lavish 2016 wedding.


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