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April 6, 2010

FRANCE/JAPAN [updated 17:20BST]: Renault-Daimler alliance announcement imminent

Renault was set to approve a strategic alliance with Daimler at a special board meeting today, according to Le Figaro newspaper. The French automaker has since issued invitations to a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

Renault was set to approve a strategic alliance with Daimler at a special board meeting today, according to Le Figaro newspaper. The French automaker has since issued invitations to a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

The board meeting in Paris was also to discuss a ‘symbolic’ cross-shareholding of around 3% between the two groups.

Renault’s alliance partner Nissan would also feature in the financial deal, with an official announcement expected on Wednesday, the paper reported. Japan’s Nikkei business daily and Kyodo News said Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn, who is also Nissan’s president, and Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche would make the announcement in Brussels.

Rumours about such a deal have been circulating for some weeks. Ghosn has said he has held talks with various potential partners, including Daimler, on joint investment and technology sharing.

Daimler has said it has no objection in principle to such a deal. Renault currently owns 44.3% of Nissan, and the Japanese carmaker has a 15% stake in its French partner.

The three companies had combined sales of 7.22m vehicles last year, behind the 8.6m units sold by the Volkswagen-Suzuki alliance and 7.81m sold by Toyota.

Renault and Nissan are developing a line of zero-emission electric vehicles, including the Nissan Leaf, while Daimler could contribute its diesel engines for luxury cars.

Daimler also sees an opportunity to turn around poor sales of its Smart minicars by sharing parts with carmakers that have strength in small vehicles.

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