General Motors Corp has agreed to work together with
Nissan Motor Co and Renault SA in a 90-day study of
potential benefits that may arise from a three-way alliance
among the auto majors. The three are expected to review
the benefits and vote on an alliance plan within this
The decision, which could impact the auto industry worldwide,
followed a meeting between GM CEO Rick Wagoner and Carlos
Ghosn, CEO of both Renault and Nissan bin Detroit.
GM's largest individual shareholder, billionaire Kirk
Kerkorian, who proposed that Renault and Nissan acquire
a substantial stake in GM, brokered the alliance plan.
Renault and Nissan already have a two-way alliance.
GM, Nissan and Renault would initially focus on sourcing
parts together and sharing vehicle platforms.
"We had a good discussion today, and are looking
forward to having our teams work together to explore
our ideas," Wagoner and Ghosn said in a joint statement.
"It is important to let our teams work on this
review without distraction and, therefore, we will not
be providing further public comments about it at this
time," Ghosn told reporters. "If not, we will
shake hands and return to our battlefield," he
said at a Nissan facility in Detroit.
GM, the world's largest automaker, lost $10.6 billion
in 2005 as it struggled with rising production costs
and sluggish sales, especially of its sport utility
vehicles. The auto behemoth has been steadily losing
US market share to foreign rivals. Having initiated
a restructuring plan, GM, however, has indicated that
it is not looking for a bail-out from its deep-seated
part of its cost-cutting exercise, GM has moved to sell
assets and reduce its workforce by 35,000, a mover that
is expected to bring about $5 billion in savings this
On the sidelines, though Ghosn has said that he has
no plans to take on the top job in GM, an alliance amongst
the majors may make it possible. Ghosn, who has successfully
turned around Nissan, Japan's No 2 auto firm and the
world's No7, is regarded as having the potential.
"We have a good plan, we're turning the business
at a rapid rate...So we're going to be in a position
to be a very successful business," GM CEO Wagoner
Nissan may also take over some of GM's excess production
capacity in North America. That could win workers over
where GM plans to close plants and hire workers on contract