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Renault-Nissan common platform for top models

PARIS, March 1 (AFP) – French carmaker Renault and its Japanese parter Nissan are to develop a shared platform for their top-of-the-line models, the head of the French group said in an interview published Monday.

Since the beginning of their alliance in 1999, the two companies have developed shared platforms for their small and mid-size models, but in recent months Nissan had hinted that a platform for their top-of-the-range models would not be made.

“There will be a shared platform. That’s been decided.” Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer said in an interview with French business newspaper La Tribune.

He also told the paper that he expected the earnings of the French group and its Japanese partner to converge as technical cooperation accelerated.

“I think we will see a convergence of the earnings achieved by Renault and Nissan, alongside the progressive technical cooperation,” he said, without giving any timeframe.

Last year, Nissan contributed about EUR 1.71 billionn (USD 2.13 billion) of Renault’s total EUR 2.48 billion in net earnings.

Schweitzer said the group expects production of its new EUR 5,000 budget car to reach 700,000 units per year in 2010.

In an interview with daily La Tribune, Schweitzer said the budget car will be built in Morocco, Colombia, Russia, Iran and perhaps in China.

“There is a great potential for margins, entirely in line with our overall profitability targets,” Schweitzer said.

In a separate interview with German daily Die Welt over the weekend, Schweitzer said it “would make no sense” for Renault to merge with Nissan.

In Die Welt, he also described rumours that Renault might be interested in buying Ford’s Volvo unit as unfounded, and that Renault planned to return to the US market at some stage, though not before 2010.


                                                              Subject: France news