Nissan, Renault to start new alliance, sources say

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Nissan, Renault to start new alliance, sources say

Flags of Japan, France and Nissan are seen at Nissan Motor Co.'s global headquarters in Yokohama.

TOKYO PARIS Reuters -- Nissan and Renault are about to start a new automaking alliance with a major overhaul of their globe-spanning alliance as top executives meet on Thursday for talks to reset the two-decade old partnership and chart a course for an uncertain electric future.

Sources previously told Reuters that Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Renault SA are meeting via a video link for an alliance board meeting. The sources said that they chose to use that format rather than having Renault CEO Luca de Meo and Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard travel to Japan because the talks have been progressing well.

Renault wants the Japanese automaker to invest in its new electric-vehicle business while Nissan wants Renault to sell down its 43% stake and put the 23 year alliance on a more equal footing.

The talks have been ongoing for months and have focused on issues such as the sharing of intellectual property. A formal announcement could come as early as February 1, according to a report by the companies.

The future shape of the Franco-Japanese alliance has implications for both companies as well as their junior partner, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. It also shows how the huge technological upheaval in the auto industry is forcing companies to partner and compete with a huge number of newcomers and tech firms.

For instance, Renault will partner with companies from China's Geely Automobile Holdings to the semiconductor giant Qualcomm Inc.

Renault is working to reach a deal with Geely and to bring Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco in as an investor and partner to develop gasoline engines and hybrid technologies, according to a report from Reuters.

Nissan has been concerned that the technology it has developed with Renault could leak to the French automaker's partners as it restructures, according to a report by Reuters.