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Renault chairman sets ambitious goal for troubled Nissan alliance
[PARIS] Renault SA Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is piling on the pressure to fix its partnership with Nissan Motor Co, giving the carmakers just months to mend their troubled relationship.
"My obsession today is that this alliance actually takes off in 2020," Mr Senard said Tuesday on France Inter radio. "If in 2020 we don't extract the whole virtuous potential of this alliance, I'll consider that I and my teams have failed."
Asked about the vexing issue of their lopsided shareholding structure that has long weighed on relations, Mr Senard said a lowering of Renault's stake in Nissan wasn't on the agenda, though he cautioned "You can't exclude anything."
Mr Senard's deadline provides marching orders for a new crop of managers taking their seats as a global downturn in the automotive sector takes hold. Nissan changed CEOs this month and Renault has embarked on its own executive search after ousting Thierry Bollore. Both companies are turning the page on the era of Carlos Ghosn, who held their alliance together for years.
Mr Senard said the new teams at the companies "understand we can't live alone."
Nissan has long demanded more sway in the alliance, including that Renault lower its 43 per cent stake in Nissan.
The imbalance "created incredible frustration," he said. "The topic isn't here today, it's about strengthening the industrial side of the alliance."
Earlier this year, Mr Senard pushed for a merger Nissan didn't want, and failed to obtain the support of the Japanese partner to combine Renault with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV. Senard reiterated that the Fiat deal "isn't on the table."
"It was a good idea, but you have to adapt to circumstances, and they're different today," he said.
He downplayed Renault's profit warning last week, calling it an "adjustment given what we know about the markets."
On the operational front, he said Renault is introducing a hydrogen-powered version of its Kangoo light commercial vehicle, which would represent a further move by the company to lower car emissions.