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GM Talks Positive, Ghosn Says

September 01, 2006|From the Associated Press

PARIS — Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault and Nissan Motor Co., said Thursday that talks on a possible alliance with General Motors Corp. were progressing well.

Ghosn described the tone of the discussions as positive but said it was too early to say what their conclusion would be.

He and GM CEO Rick Wagoner began exploratory talks in July at the urging of key GM shareholder Kirk Kerkorian.

Kerkorian, who owns a 9.9% stake through his Beverly Hills investment firm Tracinda Corp., has pressed GM to step up the pace of its turnaround plan. The company, the largest automaker in the world, posted a $10.6-billion loss last year as its U.S. market share fell to an 80-year low.

Ghosn said Thursday that he had set a preliminary midOctober deadline for a decision on whether such a move would be in the interests of his companies and their current alliance.

Renault owns a 44% stake in Nissan of Japan, which in turn holds 15% of the French automaker.

Ghosn has said that Renault and Nissan should take a stake in GM to make such an alliance deal work.

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