US: Ford said to have called Ghosn

By just-auto.com editorial team | 23 August 2006

Renault has declined to comment on a report that Bill Ford had called its chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn to explore possible co-operation.

According to Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Europe said Ford recently called Ghosn to say that if the Renault-Nissan alliance decided not to continue alliance talks with General Motors, Ghosn should consider talking to Ford.

"We have no information on any phone conversations between Ford and Ghosn and cannot comment on the report," said a Renault spokeswoman told the news agency.

Limited teams of GM, Renault and Nissan executives are studying the possible synergies of an alliance and will report back to Ghosn and General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner by mid-October after billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, the largest single shareholder in GM, suggested the three-way tie-up on 30 June, the report noted.

Ford said in July his company was open to alliances but that there were no discussions ongoing, Reuters said, adding that Ford has acknowledged courting Ghosn for a senior post at Ford in Dearborn but the Brazil-born Frenchman of Lebanese parents declined.

According to the report, one investment banker who follows the automotive sector closely said recently that a Renault/Nissan link with Ford would be simpler and more effective than one with GM because there would be less overlap of brands.

"I'm sure that if Carlos Ghosn doesn't succeed with General Motors he will look at Ford or one of the other players," the banker was reported to have said, although the strong influence the Ford family exercises at the company could pose an obstacle to any deal.