(Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. will be a major customer to Renault SA’s combustion-engine venture as the partners push on with reshaping their troubled alliance and make progress in the EV transition.
The Japanese carmaker will receive gearboxes and engines for 12 of its plants, as well as half a million parts annually, the companies said Wednesday. Junior alliance partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will also be a customer alongside multiple others in the Horse combustion-engine unit, set up with China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.
The steps are part of a major revamp of working together following years of growing tensions, allowing the manufacturers to take on new partners and independent ventures. This includes Renault’s plan to list its electric-vehicle unit Ampere, targeting a valuation of as much as €10 billion ($10.8 billion), with both Nissan and Mitsubishi confirming significant investments.
“What we are doing now is, from size and impact, much bigger than we we did in the alliance in the last ten years,” Renault Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo told reporters. “The most important thing is to show that this alliance can create business value.”
Nissan will work with Renault’s Ampere unit to develop a battery version of its Micra compact car for the European market, a move that will cut development costs for the model by 50%, de Meo said. Nissan’s solid-state batteries — a potential next technology breakthrough for EVs — could be licensed by Renault and Mitsubishi in the future. Mitsubishi will work with Ampere to develop and make its first electric mid-size sport utility vehicle.
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Nissan plans to acquire a stake in Renault’s battery recycling unit that already generates annual sales of some €1 billion, de Meo said. With that step, the Japanese automaker would anticipate stricter European Union rules to help clean up the EV supply chain. Nissan also is interested in the venture for markets outside Europe, CEO Makoto Uchida said.
Earlier this year, Nissan finalized plans to invest as much as €600 million in Ampere, which has faced headwinds from an EV price war, alongside an earlier commitment of €200 million from Mitsubishi.
The two companies rebalanced their 24-year-old alliance last month as they announced the creation of a French trust to which Renault transferred 28.4% of Nissan shares.
In November, Renault Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo said his company wants to start selling its stake in Nissan, worth about €4.3 billion, “very soon” as part of its ambitious electric-vehicle development plan. The plan to lower the stake removes a major source of tension for the partners.
Among other joint projects, Renault and Nissan said in February they will invest $600 million in India to expand their car lineup, add jobs and decarbonize a manufacturing plant in Chennai.
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(Updates with details on joint projects starting in fourth paragraph)
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