Nissan could seek partnership on EVs with Honda, say Japanese media

TOKYO: Nissan Motor is considering seeking a business partnership with Honda Motor, TV Tokyo reported on Wednesday, while the Nikkei business daily said they could collaborate on electric vehicles.

Nissan's board of directors decided on Tuesday to consider a potential alliance with its larger Japanese rival, TV Tokyo said, citing unidentified sources.

The Nikkei reported that Nissan and Honda could work together on electric vehicles to better compete with Chinese rivals.

A Nissan spokesman declined to comment on the report, and said he did not know whether its board met on Tuesday.

A Honda spokesman said there was nothing the company could say about the report.

Nissan, which has a longstanding alliance with French automaker Renault intends to sign a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Honda, TV Tokyo said, adding the areas of cooperation were not yet decided.

Citing multiple Nissan sources, the Nikkei said specific steps could include the introduction of a common powertrain, joint procurement and development of a common platform.

The collaboration could potentially extend to battery procurement and joint development of electric vehicles, the Nikkei added.

Nissan already cooperates with Renault on EVs, mainly in Europe.

The next Nissan electric Micra will share the same architecture as the new Renault Five and be built in the same plant in northern France.

Nissan has also committed to invest up to 600 million euros (RM3bil) in Renault's new electric vehicle entity Ampere.

But the two firms last year reduced the scope of a years-long alliance to allow for a more agile partnership, and Renault has since signed agreements with new partners such as China's Geely.

"Under the new framework agreement of the alliance, the partners are free to make strategic decisions outside of common projects together," said a Renault spokesman.

Nissan and Honda both lost market share in the world's top auto market, China, last year amid heavy competition from BYD (002594.SZ), opens new tab and other electric vehicle makers. They may cut production in the country, the Nikkei newspaper said on Tuesday.
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