Renault-Nissan open to GM tie-up: Ghosn

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Franco-Japanese auto maker Renault-Nissan is open to a possible alliance with General Motors of the United States, Renault chairman Carlos Ghosn said in an interview published Wednesday.

"I still think there are a lot of things to do with GM, that there are a lot of synergies," he told the newspaper Le Monde ahead of the opening later this week of the Paris Auto Show.

Ghosn said that during the recent economic crisis, US the government, after rescuing GM from threatened bankruptcy, suggested that he take charge of the ailing company.

"I replied that it was impossible to abandon my current responsibilities in the midst of turmoil," he told Le Monde. "I thought that that would not be at all ethical.

"Now, I remain open to a tie-up with GM," he said, adding that such an initiative would be "an opportunity rather than an obligation" for Renault-Nissan.

General Motors, in which the US government has a 61-percent stake, is preparing a return to the stock market.

Ghosn is early next year to outline a new strategic plan for Renault after the 2006-2009 scheme was abandoned.

"The objectives will certainly be more realistic than in the previous plan," he said.

Even in the absence of the financial crisis, he maintained, Renault would not have reached its target of an 800,000-vehicle incerease in sales between 2005 and 2009.

The new plan should cover a longer period, with a component for electric vehicles and those emitting low levels of carbon dioxide, as well as a development strategy for Brazil, Russia and the Middle East.

China, which has eclipsed the United States as the world's leading auto market, is seen as a long-range target.

"We will go to China one day with Renault," Ghosn said.

"But not in the next two to three years."

Nissan, however, is already active in China.

© 2010 AFP

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