Business / Corporate

Nissan CEO willing to meet Fiat Chrysler chairman to discuss Renault merger

Kyodo

Nissan Motor Co. CEO Hiroto Saikawa said Friday he is willing to meet Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Chairman John Elkann to be briefed directly on the Italian-American company’s plan to merge with Renault SA, the Yokohama-based carmaker’s alliance partner for 20 years.

Saikawa has not clarified whether he agrees with the merger plan between Renault and FCA, saying he wants to examine the potential impact on Nissan’s business operations. The deal would create the world’s third-largest automaker group by volume.

“I would like to meet” Elkann, Saikawa told reporters, adding that the location and date of the envisioned meeting has not been decided. The Nissan CEO said he has already been exchanging emails with the FCA chairman.

At a meeting of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors Corp., the third partner in the alliance, on Wednesday in Yokohama, the French carmaker’s CEO, Thierry Bollore, and chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, revealed the planned merger with FCA to the Japanese firms and sought their support, according to a source close to the matter.

With combined sales totaling 8.7 million vehicles last year, a merged Renault and FCA group would be behind only Volkswagen AG group and Toyota Motor Corp. in terms of size.

If Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors are included in any FCA-Renault merger plan, the prospective group’s global sales would reach 15.6 million vehicles — far exceeding the 10.83 million units the Volkswagen group sold last year.

FCA said Monday it has proposed a plan to Renault in which shareholders on each side would take 50 percent in a merged entity. The Italian-American carmaker said the combination would improve capital efficiency and the speed of product development.