"We want Nissan to be Nissan and Renault to be Renault," Carlos Ghosn, Renault, Nissan.
Just weeks after adding the Renault CEO duties to his role as Nissan CEO, Ghosn played down speculation that the nature of the Renault-Nissan alliance would change soon.
"We will not be developing synergies where one company benefits and the other doesn't," he said here late last month at his first press briefing as joint CEO. Ghosn took the reins as Renault CEO on April 29.
Renault owns 44 percent of Nissan, and Nissan owns 15 percent of Renault.
The two companies cooperate when it benefits both partners, Ghosn said.
Renault and Nissan won't share the same culture or adopt the same strategy for the global car market, he said.
"We want Nissan to be Nissan and Renault to be Renault," Ghosn said.
Ghosn stressed that the alliance partners already have a high degree of collaboration, including platform sharing and joint purchasing.
"We're doing a lot of things together but aren't talking about it so much," he said. "In the end, what matters is the performance of Renault and the performance of Nissan."
Ghosn declined to discuss Renault issues - such as the brand's future plans for premium or large segments - saying he first must reacquaint himself with the French automaker.
But he covered a broad range of other topics.
Nissan will boost sales 1.2 percent to 550,000 units in Europe this year despite a flat market, Ghosn said.
Infiniti is not likely to come to western Europe before 2008, although Nissan's luxury brand will be launched in Russia. "Europe is not part of the picture in the foreseeable future," he said.
Ghosn praised a cultural transformation and "more offensive management" for improving operations at Nissan's Barcelona, Spain, plant in the past three years.
"That's why we at Nissan feel more confident about the future of the plant," he said. "In the past, we had the impression that the only thing people cared about was to defend their jobs. The mentality and mind-set has been transformed."
"For the foreseeable future," he said, Nissan isn't planning to export cars built in China to Europe: "The two plants we have in Europe will be competitive enough not to make it obvious for us that we need to bring cars from China."