The 13-year-old partnership of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. is widely seen as the most successful alliance among automakers. That track record gives Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn credibility as an expert on joining companies. On the eve of a tie-up between General Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen, Ghosn offered the following thoughts.
On the key criteria for a successful alliance: "Absolute respect for different identities, for autonomy of operations, for brands and cultures. There has to be absolute respect. The day you start to say, 'I'm going to go faster' ... you will make one good decision faster and be happy, but you are preparing yourself to hit the wall a few years later."
On balancing the partners' needs: "If you are in a win-lose cooperation and think, 'I'm going to compensate by doing another win-lose on the other side,' people will never remember the win. They always remember the lose. So, after a while, [if] you make a lot of win-lose situations, you are going to have a lot of people pissed off."
On patience in an alliance: "No merger stuff. No mixing the two companies, but a strong drive on synergies based on a win-win situation. It's better to be slow and steady and sustainable than fast and going in the wrong direction."