French car giant Renault’s shares hit a six-year low this morning, after reports suggested Nissan had accelerated secret contingency planning for a potential split from their alliance.
The company’s stock plunged as low as €40.16 this morning, a four per cent drop for the day, before recovering slightly to €40.59.
The plans include war-gaming a total divide in engineering and manufacturing, as the downfall of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn continues to hurt the 20-year-old alliance.
Nissan has also included wholesale changes at board level in its plans, which have hastened since Ghosn’s escape from Japan in late December.
The move to plan out a potential split is the latest sign that the alliance is creaking at the seams, after Ghosn held it together for nearly two decades as the chairman and chief executive of both companies.
Renault produces 10m cars every year, but many at Nissan think the French manufacturer has started to hold the Japanese firm back, according to the Financial Times.
A split would leave both car manufacturers weakened at a time when rivals are pairing up to fight unprecedented challenges in the industry.
These include the imposition of tough new emissions rules by the European Union, which will likely cost car makers as much as €14.5bn in 2021.
Fiat Chrysler and PSA have announced they are merging, while Volkswagen and Ford have formed their own alliance whereby they will share research and production costs.