LONDON -- The new terms of the alliance of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi mean the three companies now have "an open relationship rather than a forced marriage," Renault CEO Luca de Meo told Automotive News Europe after the automakers held a joint news conference in London on Monday.
The setting for the event in the British capital reflected a new-found desire that neither Renault nor Nissan should be seen as the dominant partner in the alliance, especially now the two plan to have an equal 15 percent cross-shareholding.
London was seen as neutral territory for the alliance. Although the UK is in Europe and not Asia, it's not in France, and it’s Nissan’s sole manufacturing base in the region. The event to announce the revamped alliance was held in the Japanese-themed Nobu hotel, which is famous for its sushi, but French pastries were served.
What was obvious during the event was the rapport that de Meo and Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida have built during frequent conversations as they worked to rebuild their companies' long-established alliance for the modern era.
The two shared jokes about the difficulties they had to overcome to get their respective companies over the line. "I probably talked to Luca more than my family," since discussions between the two started in May, Uchida said. For his part, De Meo said that the discussions had been "intense."
The CEOs reiterated that it was a "common sense" partnership for a new era that plays to their respective strengths in individual regions.