TOKYO (AP) — The Franco-Japanese automotive alliance of Renault and Nissan plans to invest 23 billion euros ($26 billion) in electric vehicle technology over the next five years, the companies said Thursday.
The alliance, which also includes small Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp., will share research, auto parts and technology to cut costs and produce 35 new electric vehicle models by 2030 for markets around the world. .
Vehicles will use one of five common platforms, the main parts on which vehicles are built.
Nissan Motor Co. will lead the development of a next-generation battery for electric vehicles, while Renault will lead the development of electronics and software to connect millions of vehicles and provide digital services and features.
“Today, we are lifting the hoods of the alliance together,” said Jean-Dominique Senard, president of the alliance, during an online presentation.
Automakers around the world are trying to cut costs and forge alliances. Recent COVID-related supply issues holding back production and growing concerns about climate change have made this coordination more urgent than ever.
Tesla has become a powerful and extremely profitable competitor. Other newcomers are entering the market. Sony Corp., which makes the PlayStation video game console, recently showed off a prototype electric car. Japan’s largest automaker, Toyota Motor Corp., also announced an aggressive plan for electric vehicles.
Sharing components, production facilities and research will benefit the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Nissan Chief Executive Officer Makoto Uchida said.
“More than anything, we also benefit from the shared experience and expertise of our staff,” Uchida said.
Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan, while Nissan owns 15% of Renault. Nissan, based in the port city of Yokohama, owns 34% of Tokyo-based Mitsubishi. The French state owns 15% of Renault.
The alliance is the idea of Carlos Ghosn, sent by Renault in 1999 to straighten out a Nissan on the verge of bankruptcy. Ghosn has made it one of the most successful automotive groups in the world. But he was arrested in Japan in 2018 for financial misconduct.
He skipped bail and fled to Lebanon in late 2019. Lebanon does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. Ghosn says he is innocent.
Ghosn’s arrest and related developments strained the alliance, and Senard spoke of a crisis, without going into specifics.
He blamed a “lack of confidence”, which he said was repairing itself.
“That period is a thing of the past,” Senard said.
Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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