Outlook: Gallic empire-building with Nissan
Tuesday 16 March 1999
But then, there is more than a hint of empire-building about the Gallic move. Not so long ago, the French viewed Britain as little more than a "Japanese aircraft carrier" moored off Europe's north-west coast, because it was home to three transplant factories including Nissan's Sunderland plant.
How sweet now to be riding to the rescue as the good ship Nissan lists alarming under the weight of its debts and its flagging range of models. Renault can magnanimously present the deal as an alliance of equals, and the French government, which still owns 44 per cent of the shares, can even donate a soupcon of its residual stake to Nissan as a sign of good faith.
If a means can be found of keeping Nissan's debts away from the Renault balance sheet (and with the French state as co-driver all things are possible) then the industrial logic too looks more compelling. Nissan gives Renault an entree into the US, Japan, and the 4x4 sector, where it has no presence at all, as well as a head start in the development of efficient, environmentally friendly engine technology.
Renault, meanwhile, is an object lesson for Nissan in how to design cars and then plan their introduction. In the Espace and the Scenic, the French have led the way in creating the only two genuinely new market segments of the last 15 years. The two manufacturers' model ranges may compete within Europe but, crucially, there is virtually no overlap in manufacturing capacity, which spares them from the destructive and distracting task of closing plants and laying off workers.
Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did jetliner fly into area controlled by Taliban? Net widens after claims final satellite signal could have been sent from the ground
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Malaysia flight MH370: Pitbull song lyrics bear uncanny resemblance to missing plane mystery, according to YouTubers
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global lea...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...