TOKYO -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Chairman John Elkann, in conveying his "huge respect" for Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors, is promising that the Japanese automakers will derive big benefits from his proposed tie-up of FCA with their French partner Renault.
"Our proposed merger with Renault will create the potential to build a global partnership with all three of these great companies during this period of unprecedented transformation in our industry," Elkann said in a written statement to Japan's Nikkei newspaper published on Tuesday.
"I have huge respect for Nissan and Mitsubishi, and their products and businesses," he wrote.
Elkann's overture to the Japanese came just a day after his company submitted a formal proposal for a 50-50 merger with Renault, Nissan's 20-year long automotive partner and biggest shareholder with a 43.4 per cent stake. The envisioned tie-up would create an automotive juggernaut with global sales of 15 million vehicles a year, including volume from the Japanese.
Renault, calling FCA's offer a "friendly proposal," said its board of directors will study it "with interest" and with an eye toward "creating additional value for the Alliance."
Elkann, in appealing to Japan's leading business daily, promised payoffs for the country's automakers through bigger scale and mutual respect. Renault is Nissan's controlling shareholder, while Nissan, in turn, is the controlling shareholder of Mitsubishi.
"Our proposal to Renault is one we believe will be transformative in many positive ways," he wrote. "Our spirit is one of finding a common purpose that provides benefits for all our companies, embracing Nissan and Mitsubishi as valued and respected partners."
The merged company would a 50-50 FCA-Renault entity, giving the Japanese partners a potentially smaller voice at the highest levels of decision making.
The new board would have 11 members, four each from Renault and FCA, but only one from Nissan. Renault's current alliance is overseen by a four-member Alliance Operating Board.
Sitting on that board are Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard, Renault CEO Thierry Bollore, Nissan CEO Saikawa and Mitsubishi CEO Osamu Masuko.
Nissan and Mitsubishi have been largely quiet on FCA's proposed merger.
When reports about a possible merger first emerged in March, Saikawa said he was "not at all" aware of such talks. Just before FCA submitted its official offer on May 27, the Nissan boss declined to comment on whether Renault had informed him of the approach.
"We are always exchanging constructive opinions about ways to strengthen the corporate alliance in a forward-looking manner," he told reporters, noting that the top executives of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi would gather for a regular meeting this week in Japan.
"We would like to have a constructive discussion," Saikawa said.