Renault says held Mitsubishi cooperation talks in past

Fri May 31, 2013 6:59am EDT
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By Elena Berton

PARIS (Reuters) - Renault RENA.PA on Friday said it had held limited talks with Mitsubishi Motors 7211.T about potential cooperation which had not resulted in an agreement.

Renault is one of several European automakers which some investors believe need to strike more partnerships to broaden their product range and, potentially, their distribution.

While it has already pledged to boost synergies from its alliance with Nissan 7201.T, it has made no secret of its interest in deals with rivals elsewhere.

"We had discussions with Mitsubishi in the past on limited cooperation as we have done with other automakers, but they didn't result in an agreement," a Renault spokeswoman said. "We have nothing new at this stage."

Earlier, Mitsubishi denied a report in French newspaper Le Figaro that the Japanese carmaker, which already has an alliance with Nissan, was exploring a possible cooperation deal with Renault.

The newspaper cited an unnamed Renault executive and a person familiar with the situation as saying that the company was considering a cooperation project similar to partnerships it already has with other auto groups.

"Nissan is already cooperating with Mitsubishi. Renault is looking for opportunities, but hasn't yet decided for the moment," a person familiar with the situation was quoted as telling the paper. "It could be the same type of project as the cooperation with Mercedes."

Renault, which controls 43.4 percent of Nissan, has struck partnership deals on a number of projects with Daimler DAIGn.DE, owner of the Mercedes brand, and Russian carmaker Avtovaz AVAZ.MM.

In particular Renault and Mercedes have a partnership to develop future Twingo and Smart cars, commercial vehicles as well as engines.

(Reporting by Elena Berton and Christian Plumb; Additional reporting by Kentaro Sugiyama in Tokyo; Editing by David Cowell)

Stocks of new Renault automobiles are parked in a lot in Flins-sur-Seine, near Paris, October 27, 2008. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier