Renault rules out negotiating with FCA at the moment

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For the French economy minister, the essential thing now is to rebuild the alliance between Renault and Nissan

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire ruled out the possibility of resuming merger talks between Fiat Chrysler – FCA – and Renault in the short term.

FCA's plans to recover talks with Renault for a possible merger suffered a new setback when the French Economy Minister, Bruno Le Maire, he said – while attending the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy – that Renault's priority right now is to rebuild its relationship with Nissan.

"I think it is best not to do two things at the same time," Le Maire said in answering questions from journalists.

At the time, John Elkann, the great employer of the FCA group, was very interested in reaching an agreement. I considered it crucial for the technological change that is coming and that I would not have to face alone.

Renault rejected the agreement in the first instance, but Elkann already warned that he would not give up and would try again, and even offered assurances to the French government about maintaining the production centers in France.

Relations between Renault and Nissan do not go through their best moment since Carlos Ghosn, the top executive of both companies, was arrested in Japan and accused of notable irregularities in their emoluments.

In Nissan they have also tried to take advantage of the opportunity to gain weight in the Alliance – that is what the agreement between the two parties is called – and this has given rise to many conversations and tense situations, with many issues to be closed. Not surprisingly, it seems clear that there has been a struggle for power, since the Japanese side considered its role undervalued.

The penultimate act of the almost soap opera Renault-Nissan he has starred Hiroto Saikawa, the CEO of Nissan, who admitted to having charged more than was initially agreed and apologized for it. He announced that he will return the 400,000 euros overpaid, although the Nissan Council has been quick to ensure there was no illegality.

The situation led to the resignation of Saikawa, even though the 'error' has been attributed to the system put in place by Ghosn. But the collapse of the company's car sales and the announcement made in a country where the neatness of managers is a necessity puts it in a delicate situation. The first consequence is that an expected debt issue for the next few weeks has been delayed.

In this situation it is logical that Renault prefers to tidy up its alliance with Nissan before being able to speak with FCA. Because it would be necessary to see if the agreement between the Italians – although the company name is in Holland – and the French is interesting for the Japanese.

Meanwhile, FCA is already announcing its first electric and hybrid and has reported that it will invest 1,100 million euros in Italy to adapt its production centers. There are things that can not wait, especially if the negotiation and agreement perspective goes for long.

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