PARIS - Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. are ready to begin consolidating their dealer networks in Europe.
Renault will encourage some of its strongest dealers to acquire Nissan franchises, said Renault Chairman Louis Schweitzer. Talks are under way between several dealer groups representing the two brands, Renault and Nissan sources said.
They say the companies, by the end of the year, will announce a plan to bring together networks in France, Germany and the United Kingdom by 2002.
The details are expected to be approved at the next meeting of the Global Alliance Committee, the 12-member group that oversees the Renault-Nissan alliance. The committee, co-chaired by Schweitzer and Nissan President Yoshikazu Hanawa, is scheduled to meet later this month in Paris. Renault acquired a controlling 37 percent interest in Nissan in March.
'In Europe, Renault's dealer base is stronger than Nissan's,' Schweitzer said in an interview with . 'So it would be natural in a majority of cases that Nissan dealerships would be owned by people also running Renault dealerships.'
Schweitzer said the alliance could accelerate Renault's efforts to consolidate its European network by reducing the number of dealers and giving them larger territories.
'Some of our strong dealers are making money and expanding,' he said. 'To offer them additional investment opportunities is positive.' But Schweitzer declined to discuss the consolidation plans in detail.