TOKYO -- Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa extended an olive branch to Renault after an acrimonious spat over proposed governance changes at the Japanese automaker.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Saikawa said Nissan must "make our peace" with Renault. The companies need to "stabilize and reinforce" their partnership, he told the newspaper. "This is the most important thing."
Hostilities between Nissan and Renault had plumbed new lows, threatening their two-decade alliance before a truce was suggested.
People close to the two automakers have noted a “marked deterioration” in the day-to-day functioning and co-operation of the alliance, the FT said, citing sources from both companies. Saikawa told the paper that the recent trouble had affected staff across the group.
It's not clear whether any cease-fire will hold: Saikawa himself had criticized Renault's plan to block Nissan's board reforms. That, in turn, was an apparent riposte by Renault after Nissan refused to endorse a merger deal with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
In the interview, Saikawa described the alliance between Nissan and Renault as a "cradle" for co-operation and value creation. "I am quite convinced we need to work it out, and we will," he told the newspaper.
A representative for Nissan confirmed the interview took place but declined to provide details of the conversation.
Relations between the automakers were already strained by the arrest in Tokyo last November of Carlos Ghosn, the industry titan who oversaw the manufacturers and their alliance. That crisis triggered plans for sweeping corporate governance reform at Nissan's board. Saikawa had said it was "most regrettable" that Renault, which has a 43 percent stake in Nissan, planned to block those changes.