Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2003

Renault-Nissan Alliance, The

by Michael Y. Yoshino and Perry Fagan

Abstract

On Wednesday, May 29, 2002, the board of directors of Renault-Nissan BV (RNBV) met for the first time to discuss the state of the alliance between Renault SA and Nissan Motors-two of the world's largest automakers. RNBV was a 50/50 joint venture company established in March of that year to oversee the strategy of the alliance and all activities undertaken jointly by Renault and Nissan. The new company would "steer alliance strategy and supervise common activities on a global level, while respecting the identity and culture of each company and not interfering in operations." Executives at both companies believed much had been accomplished in the first three years of the alliance. Nissan, under Carlos Ghosn's leadership, had improved its finances dramatically and was rapidly reemerging as a major player in the global auto industry. Moreover, the alliance partners were in line with their initial forecast of $3.3 billion in cost savings and synergies promised by 2002, according to their internal reporting. As the board prepared to meet, Louis Schweitzer and Ghosn believed the alliance faced difficult challenges ahead. To what extent would the two companies be able to realize further savings and synergies, particularly in the areas of manufacturing and additional sales? How should the RNBV board address issues that had surfaced as employees of the two firms worked together across disparate corporate and national cultures, functions, and geographies? Ultimately, would the two firms be able to strike a balance between deepening their alliance while "respecting the identity and culture of each company and not interfering in operations?"

Keywords: Joint Ventures; Global Strategy; Organizational Culture; Alliances; Business or Company Management; Mergers and Acquisitions; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Auto Industry;

Citation:

Yoshino, Michael Y., and Perry Fagan. "Renault-Nissan Alliance, The." Harvard Business School Case 303-023, May 2003.