“At Renault, Nissan has become the elephant in the room”

“At Renault, Nissan has become the elephant in the room”

PWhy make it simple when you can make it complicated? The question arises the day after the presentation of Renault’s new organization, unveiled on Tuesday, November 8. The “revolution” announced two years ago by its managing director, Luca de Meo, is well on the way. But, as always in the first days of a revolution, confusion dominates.

The rhombus turns into a pentagon with five distinct subsidiaries. The new physiognomy is so confusing that it will probably take several years before knowing whether it is the beginning of a return to grace or a swan song. The financial targets are ambitious, but the deadlines are so far off that the upheavals the sector will experience between now and then make them uncertain. On the other hand, the new organization could mark an additional stage in the disintegration of the links with Nissan at work for several years.

A few weeks ago, the chairman of Renault, Jean-Dominique Senard, told us that the objective of this reorganization was to “to be understood and valued normally” by the financial markets. In view of the erratic variation of the stock market price, the goal remains to be achieved.

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It is true that the heterogeneity of the five created entities is disconcerting. One will be focused on the electric vehicle; another on engines and gearboxes for thermal cars; a third will be specialized in recycling; a fourth will be made up of the Alpine brand; and a final one will oversee mobility and financing solutions. In short, cabbage and carrots. When some are held directly, others call on partners (Google, Qualcomm), some on external shareholders who will be in joint control (the Chinese Geely). The management of this archipelago in terms of governance, financial flows and human resources promises to be challenging.

This strategy is all the more confusing as it overlooks Renault’s main asset: a 43% stake in Nissan, which is supposed to materialize an industrial alliance with the Japanese. However, the Japanese manufacturer has become the elephant in the room, the unavoidable problem that everyone pretends to ignore.

Convincing Nissan

As Renault makes its revolution, Nissan stands apart from the hustle and bustle. The priority in Tokyo comes down to the substantial and rapid decline in the participation of the diamond firm in the capital of the Japanese manufacturer. During the presentation of his new strategy, Luca de Meo refused to talk about the future of the alliance, as if it were not decisive for the future of Renault. As a veteran of the group slips: “The rapprochement with Geely gives the feeling that there is a shift towards a new partner without saying that we are moving away from the current one. » In this context, it is difficult to avoid certain questions.

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