EU:Ghosn hints that Ford could be approached if GM talks fail
Ghosn hints that Ford could be approached if GM talks fail
By AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
PARIS -- Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said today that he'll look for another partner in North America if talks with General Motors fall through.
"Frankly, I said from the beginning that expansion of the alliance to a third North American party makes sense," Ghosn said at the J.D. Power and Automotive News Europe International Automotive Roundtable in Paris.
Reuters reported last week that Nissan and Renault may start talks with Ford Motor Co. if GM drops out of the alliance discussions. Ghosn did not mention Ford by name.
Ghosn said he will wait for the GM talks to conclude before discussing an alliance with another company.
"As long as the talks continue, then we are not going to divide ourselves on many fronts," he said.
Ghosn and GM CEO Rick Wagoner met earlier in the day in Paris to review the progress of talks, which began in mid-July. In identical statements afterward, GM, Nissan and Renault said they will keep talking about a possible alliance, aiming for a decision in about three weeks.
The automakers said the three teams evaluating the potential of GM's joining the Nissan-Renault alliance will keep working. The automakers are expected to make a decision on expanding the alliance around Oct. 15.
"In mid-October, you'll have an answer yes or no," Ghosn said at the J.D. Power-Automotive News Europe event, apparently ruling out any further extensions of the study.
Ghosn said less than a dozen other people attended his meeting with Wagoner this morning.
Asked whether he and Wagoner spoke privately, Ghosn said: "If we want to have a private discussion, I can pick up the phone; and if we want to speak privately, Rick speaks Portuguese … actually he speaks probably better Portuguese than me."
Ghosn said his interest in a GM alliance is not part of a strategy to contain Toyota. He said: "I don't think you establish an alliance against anybody. If you do that, you are doomed."
Today's statements said the focus of the talks was on "how an alliance could generate significant shareholder value for each company."
The statements followed a report today in The Wall Street Journal that GM would demand billions of dollars from Renault and Nissan for agreeing to any alliance as compensation for the greater value of GM. The report said this was the latest sign that the proposed deal was in trouble.
Ghosn said he would not comment on any specific figures that may be under discussion in alliance talks with GM.
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My next Ford.....