The partnership of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi dates back to 1999. Is a new partner about to join them and turn the group into the world's largest seller of automobiles?
As the car industry faces market and technology challenges worldwide, another partnership is being mooted. This one involves Italian-US concern Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and France's Renault, which is already in a group with Japan's Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Both FCA and Renault are facing major technological and regulatory challenges within the changing automobile market worldwide.
If the connection clicks and FCA becomes part of the Renault group, it would create the world's largest carmaker concern with projected sales of 15.6 million units.
The Volkswagen group is the current global leader, after it sold 10.8 million automobiles in 2018.
British daily The Financial Times reported the talks, citing an unnamed "person familiar with the matter." A number of options are being considered, but the talks have already moved beyond just the sharing of technology, the report read.
While FCA had a 12.9% share in the US car market in 2018, behind only Ford, Toyota and General Motors, Renault has less than 1%, according to Statista market analysts. Renault has an 11% share in Europe and a growing range of electric vehicles, while FCA has only about 6%.
A partnership would allow FCA and Renault to develop their technologies for electric vehicles, connectivity and artificial intelligence.
FCA has also been mentioned as a possible partner for the other French carmaker group, PSA, which owns the Peugeot, Citroen and Opel brands. It showed interest in a possible tie-up with FCA in early March.
All automakers are under pressure from regulators, especially in Europe and China, to produce electric vehicles that can meet strict pollution standards.
Renault's partnership with Nissan and Mitsubishi has been affected by the arrest of a former Nissan chairman, Carlos Ghosn, in Japan.
jm/jlw (AP, Reuters)