Media reports that rival Japanese automakers Nissan Motor and Honda Motor are potentially entering into a partnership feel so unlikely it’s as if Messi and Ronaldo are set to play on the same football team or that Taylor Swift is about to drop an album with Kanye West.

The automakers have jostled for years for second place behind Toyota Motor. The two rejected out of hand merger talks that had been proposed by government officials five years ago, the Financial Times reported in 2020. According to the newspaper, authorities were prompted to propose it by the state of the Japanese auto industry and worries about a potential Nissan collapse.

Last week’s story was much less ambitious, involving just a potential partnership on electric-vehicle procurement and development. But the need to concentrate forces may now be even more acute, with both companies’ sales in China in freefall as customers in the world’s largest auto market switch to EVs.