Former head of the Nissan-Renault alliance Carlos Ghosn's daring escape from Japan could have put another nail in the coffin of the already troubled partnership, as Nissan is reportedly beefing up plans to quit. The backup plans included Nissan returning to independent efforts in engineering and manufacturing as well as changes to the board of management at Nissan, the Financial Times reported.
Ghosn fled Japan for Lebanon in late January while awaiting a trial he said would not be fair under Japan's legal system.
A split would likely result in both makers forging partnerships elsewhere in order to maintain competition in the face of increasing research and development costs and simultaneously falling sales. As the two firms would become smaller, both will have to seek new partners to keep afloat in the highly competitive market, and while their rival automakers are forming larger alliances, like Volkswagen and Ford, or Chrysler and French PSA Group.
Ghosn's escape from Japan seems to be the catalyst for Nissan's move to map out a potential split, indicating that tensions between the Japanese company and Renault are far from over.
As for the shared platforms and engines under the alliance, the CMF-A platform developed under the alliance has underpinned a number of the brands' models, including the Renault Kwid, Triber and upcoming HBC SUV and the Datsun Redigo from Nissan's budget brand.
The Renault-Nissan Alliance was first created in 1999, after the French carmaker purchased shares in Nissan.