May 18, 2015 / 5:49 AM / 3 years ago

Nissan CEO says no need to change Renault alliance after French government hikes stake

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) CEO Carlos Ghosn said on Monday there was no need to change the automaker’s capital alliance with Renault (RENA.PA), after France raised its stake and voting rights in Renault last month.

Nissan Motor Co's President and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn gestures as he speaks at a news conference at its headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

The French government, which owns almost 20 percent of Renault, has said it wants to safeguard French interests at the automaker, which is deepening its ties with Nissan. However, Renault has warned that the government’s move could damage the alliance.

Ghosn, speaking to reporters in Japan, said the capital alliance between Nissan and Renault had “zero influence” on the automakers’ daily operations.

Since Renault rescued Nissan from bankruptcy in 1999, the Japanese carmaker has outgrown its parent to account for two-thirds of their combined 8 million vehicle sales and a bigger share of profit.

“We continue to work today exactly the way we were working from the beginning, with the two teams working together, developing synergies,” Ghosn said. “So there’s no reason for us to change.”

Asked about potential partnerships with other automakers, Ghosn said the Renault-Nissan alliance had no immediate plans for any more partnerships for now.

He also said it was “too early” to consider tie-ups with non-automakers such as Google Inc (GOOGL.O) which is trying to enter the auto market.

Renault-Nissan already has partnerships with Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) and Avtovaz (AVAZ.MM).

Nissan’s rivals Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) and Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) this month launched a long-term partnership amid a push by automakers worldwide to cut costs by building scale.

Last week, Nissan also expanded a recall linked to Takata Corp’s 7312.T faulty air bags, and Ghosn said the automaker had allocated sufficient funds to cover the recall.

He declined to specify how much the automaker had put aside to cover the cost of Takata-related recalls. Some 36 million cars have been recalled worldwide since 2008 over Takata air bag inflators, which can erupt with too much force, spraying shrapnel inside the car.

Writing by Mari Saito; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Miral Fahmy

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