TOKYO – The restructuring of the Renault-Nissan alliance brings the French automaking partner to America’s doorstep for the first time in decades with localized production in Mexico and opens the door for junior alliance player Mitsubishi Motors to expand in North America.
Under the new agreement announced Monday in London, the Franco-Japanese partners outlined a raft of new joint-business projects, several of which centered on Latin America.
In Mexico, Nissan will produce a new model for Renault, making it the first Renault vehicle produced there in 20 years. Renault Group models were last sold north of the border in the U.S. in the early 1990s, but CEO Luca de Meo said there are no imminent plans to reenter that market.
The repositioning comes despite the French automaker’s recent announcement that it plans to leverage the U.S. market as a key revenue driver for its Alpine sports car brand. The company wants to sell two models in the U.S., including a midsize electric crossover, starting in 2027 or 2028.
Speaking at a joint press conference, de Meo said Renault’s presence in Mexico would focus on bolstering Renault’s business in Latin America, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.
“It’s actually not in the plan to imagine, let’s say, Mexico as a platform for us to go to the U.S. That’s what Nissan does,” de Meo said. “We’re more looking at a way to use Mexico to kind of balance Latin America so you can play in three or four countries.”
Added de Meo: “You can put different eggs in different baskets.”
Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta said the new arrangement helps Nissan Motor Co. fill out the Japanese company’s production capacity in Mexico, where the Nissan brand is the market’s top seller. The companies didn’t say what model would be produced or what factory would be used.