Renault and Nissan

YESTERDAY marked the first board meeting of Renault-Nissan BV, the holding company of the Franco-Japanese automobile company and is a sign of the increasing integration between the two firms. The latest phase of develop will involve the establishment of new joint companies to integrate their distribution networks, information technology and financing divisions. Further steps in the future will include common engine and even chassis factories and in 2005 Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn will become joint chief executive of both companies.

Although it has not been obvious there has already been a lot of work in motorsport between the two companies: Renault engineers are involved in Nissan's Infiniti racing program in the Indy Racing League in the United States and Nissan engineers are on secondment to the Renault F1 team and have had a number of important contributions to the increasing competitiveness of that team. There has long been talk that eventually Renault will expand its involvement in Formula 1 to allow Nissan to use the Renault-developed technology to improve its brand image. That would be a logical course of action if the current proposals about the top teams sharing chassis technology are agreed. For the moment however nothing is decided. Both companies treat their alliance as a partnership rather than a merger and both have well-established traditions in motor racing. Nissan has considered entering F1 in the past and would probably still like to do so as it struggles to compete against its Japanese rivals Toyota and Honda.

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