Renault SA’s top executives are planning their first in-person meetings since the pandemic with their counterparts at Nissan Motor Co. in Japan next month as the French carmaker’s weak financial position and possible breakup threaten to further strain their alliance.
Among topics for discussion will be emerging plans for a possible separate listing of Renault’s electric-vehicle unit and potential new partner for the legacy operations, according to people familiar with the matter.
Discussions on Renault’s costly retreat from Russia will also feature prominently, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
There are no signs of any imminent structural change in the three-way alliance that includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp.
The executive meetings next month would be the first trip to Japan for Luca de Meo since he became CEO and his first in-person meeting with Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta. Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, who is also vice-chairman of Nissan, has also been prevented from traveling to Japan due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The possibility of a transformational change at Renault is taking shape against a backdrop of mounting hurdles to its turnaround plan, including a forced pullout from Russia due to the war in Ukraine and ongoing shortages of semiconductors and supply-chain bottlenecks. While the carmaker raised the possibility of a breakup in February, de Meo last week provided more details to analysts.
Renault has given Nissan scant details about its breakup plan and executives at the Japanese carmaker are concerned about their partner’s response to the Russia situation, people said. The French automaker warned last month that it will book a 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) non-cash charge. Its shares have slumped more than 30 percent since the outbreak of war.
Representatives of Renault and Nissan declined to comment.