Breaking: KK wants GM/Nissan/Renault


This just came in via email from Automotive News:

Investor Kirk Kerkorian is advocating an alliance between General Motors and Renault-Nissan, according to a securities filing.

Kerkorian, who controls 9.9 percent of GM stock, sent a letter to GM Chairman Rick Wagoner today “in which Tracinda proposed that General Motors’ Board of Directors establish a committee to immediately and fully explore, together with management, a possible opportunity to join the partnership-alliance between Renault, S.A. and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.,” the filing said.

Tracinda is a private investment corporation that Kerkorian owns.

Kerkorian also sent a letter to Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and Nissan, and Louis Schweitzer, former Renault CEO. In the filing, Tracinda notes that Renault-Nissan is interested in buying “a significant minority interest” in GM. The filing also notes that Tracinda has been in contact with Ghosn.

UPDATE: GM are obviously treating the whole episode quite seriously. This waiting in my inbox when I woke up this morning…..

DETROIT — General Motors convened an emergency board meeting Friday to discuss a proposal by shareholder Kirk Kerkorian to form an alliance between GM and Renault-Nissan, say two sources close to the board.

The hastily arranged meeting suggests that GM’s board is treating Kerkorian’s proposal with urgency.

A GM spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

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  1. As I’ve said before, Nissan would be a good match for Saab. For starters, the only minivan on the market with a hint of Saabness is the werid looking Nissan Quest. A re-worked version of that would give Saab dealers something to sell. Overall however, I’m not sure it would be that good a deal for GM. What’s in it for them?

  2. Stay clear of Renault. Swedes and Frenchmen can’t work that well togehter (Volvo-Renault, ABB-Alstom…) . The unions in France are extremely nationalistic. If they get involved, the Trollhättan plant is dead within a year and Saab will be making mini-vans, flexi-cars, city-cars whatever-car…

    Note: The sale figures for June in Sweden will be presented Monday July 3 at 9.00 AM CET. Two more days wait…

  3. GM gains the efficiency experts from Nissan, especially Ghosen. Additionally, all of the Nissan plants in the US are NOT organized by the UAW, which could be a sneaky way to get around the stranglehold that labor has on the company.

  4. I don’t know if such a joint merger (without knowing further details) would be a good idea for Saab. Ghosn has a reputation for being a brutal cost cutter, and it’s not clear to me that he would be interested in propping up Saab.

  5. What would GM get out of an alliance with Renault and Nissan? Renault and Nissan need GM about as much as Dolly Parton needs a boob job!

  6. I don’t know; efficiency experts (Ghosen) tend to scare me. Many of them cut costs by concentrating on production, but cutting R&D, They look good in the short term, but their long term effect is sometimes a death blow to the company. That’s happened many times, and the cost cutter has nothing to lose, he just moves on with his “good” reputation before the ugly end.

  7. GM basically needs to lose the unions, the health plans and the pensioners to become profitable. If there’s a scheme in this proposed merger to do that, then maybe it’ll work for GM, but I can’t see an upside for SAAB.

  8. Perhaps instead of ax-ing SAAB, there could be a plan to do away with the ridiculous redundancy of brands within GM itself; I mean do we really need Pontiac or Buick or GM Trucks? It seems to me that there are too many of the EXACT same car (or truck) being sold by one manufacturer to possibly be cost-effective in today’s ultra competitive market.

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