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Chiefs of Nissan, GM to Meet in Paris

September 26, 2006|From Bloomberg News

Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of automakers Nissan Motor Co. and Renault, and his General Motors Corp. counterpart, Rick Wagoner, will meet in Paris this week to review the progress of talks on a possible alliance.

Nissan of Japan and Renault of France have been in discussions with GM since July 14 about whether to add the Detroit-based automaker to their current alliance. The companies will announce by Oct. 15 whether they will pursue a tie-up.

This week's meeting is taking place because the two executives will be in town for the Paris Motor Show, said Nathalie Bourotte, a spokeswoman for Renault. She gave no specifics on the timing of the meeting.

Wagoner has said that GM remains focused on its own plan to restructure after posting a loss of $10.6 billion last year. Ghosn in an interview Monday in the French newspaper Le Parisien said a three-way link with a North American automaker would produce significant savings.

"It's safe to assume there will be a meeting, given the nature of discussions, the timing and the fact that the two will be in the same city," said Tony Cervone, a GM spokesman. He declined to give details about the timing of the meeting.

After two months of discussions, Nissan and Renault probably won't take an equity stake in GM, and the companies have not been able to agree on purchasing and vehicle development, people familiar with the talks said last week.

Executives from the Nissan-Renault team and Ford Motor Co. held discussions in the last month about exploring a possible tie-up, two people with knowledge of the situation said last week.

Ford Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. initially called Ghosn in July to discuss a partnership if the GM talks led nowhere, three people familiar with the matter said last month.

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