By Gilles Guillaume
PARIS, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Renault’s long-standing alliance partners Nissan (7201.T) and Mitsubishi (7211.T) confirmed plans to invest in the French car maker’s electric vehicle unit Ampere and use it to develop EVs for the European market, the companies said on Wednesday.
After years of contentious partnership, the announcement on Wednesday confirms that the new alliance between the three automakers is smaller and more pragmatic, focusing on regional cooperation.
Nissan and Mitsubishi confirmed they would invest respectively up to 600 million euros ($647.46 million) and 200 million euros in Ampere, which has been carved out from the rest of Renault and is due for a public listing next year.
Nissan will become “a strategic investor” in Ampere, Makoto Uchida, CEO of the Japanese car marker told reporters, adding the company may use the EV unit’s software and connectivity innovations in other markets outside Europe.
“Developing electric vehicles all over the world alone would be very challenging,” he said.
Ampere will develop and manufacture an electric version of the compact Nissan Micra for the European market and a medium-sized electric SUV for Mitsubishi.
Renault CEO Luca de Meo said Ampere will cut the costs for the Micra for Nissan by 50%.
The alliance partners also confirmed their joint projects in Latin America and India.
In September, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi ended their common purchasing agreement, which they said would allow them to focus on individual projects and adapt more quickly to regional differences in automotive markets.
At the end of July, Renault and Nissan finalised the terms of a restructured alliance after months of negotiations.
Talks dragged on for months longer than expected due in part to Nissan, which was concerned about protecting its intellectual property in future collaborations.
Reporting by Gilles Guillaume, additional reporting by Nick Carey, writing by Piotr Lipinski, editing by Silvia Aloisi and Bernadette Baum
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