Having already increased their holding stakes in each other's companies, Renault and Nissan are now stepping up the collaboration in production and sales.  The two will now share up to 10 vehicle platforms and eight engines in a venture that is becoming increasingly successful.

Japan's third-largest carmaker, Nissan is strengthening its ties with Renault, the French market-leader. Both firms are looking to create synergies that will bring them competitive advantage. Nissan increased its stake in Renault to 15% this year, whilst Renault has a larger 44% stake in its Japanese partner.

The partnership has so far centered on achieving purchasing economies. Already the two companies buy nearly a third of all supplies and components collectively. The next phase of the venture will see as many 10 shared vehicle platforms, and eight shared engines. The cooperation has begun already, with Renault's new Vel Satis using a de-tuned version of Nissan's V6 powerplant which is due to feature in the Japanese firm's forthcoming 350ZX coupe.

Renault's new Megane will also form the basis of the new Nissan Almera, along with several other variants from the two firms. It is planned that up to half of Nissan's and Renault's cars will use these common platforms and engines. Nissan also plans to use Renault's diesel engines in its Primera and Almera models.

Cooperation between the two companies will also be extended to sales and marketing, with Nissan selling its German sales operations to Renault, effectively outsourcing this to the French firm. Both firms have performed better than expected recently, and initial viewings of Nissan's 350ZX and Renault's all-important Megane II have so far been favourable, news that gives the joint venture even more promise.

SOURCE: DATAMONITOR COMMENTWIRE

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