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Report: Nissan execs accelerate plans to split from Renault

Senior Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. executives have ramped up plans for a potential separation from French partner Renault SA, the Financial Times reported Jan. 13, citing sources.

The plans, which have reportedly been accelerated since former alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn fled to Lebanon, include a complete divide in engineering and manufacturing and changes to the Japanese carmaker's board, according to the report.

Ghosn was arrested in Japan in November 2018 over allegations of financial misconduct. The former automotive executive escaped from house arrest in Tokyo in December 2019 and went to Lebanon, where he recently criticized Nissan executives and Japanese officials for allegedly attempting to frame him to derail closer ties with Renault.

The potential split comes ahead of the combined projects Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard is expected to unveil in several weeks in an attempt to show that the alliance can still operate, the report said.

Sources to the FT reportedly said the partnership has become "toxic" despite efforts from both parties to improve relations, and that Nissan executives view the French automaker as a "drag" on the Japanese company.

According to the newspaper, the appointment of new Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida also did not quell Renault's distrust within Nissan, which reportedly runs deep inside the company.

Nissan and Renault did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

Renault shares dropped 2.82% on Jan. 13 to close at €40.66, while Nissan shares slid 1.15% to ¥636.90 following the report.