A proposed product-development and production partnership betweenLLC and Motor Co. Ltd. also could reach into dealership franchise sharing, according to dealership group executives whose portfolios include brands of both auto makers.
The executives, who requested anonymity in light of the exploratory talks on joint projects, say they have been consulted on howand Infiniti operations could be blended with , Dodge and Jeep functions as part of future operations at the dealership level.
“Among the initiatives being considered are mutually operated pre-owned vehicle stores, shared parts and service departments and finance and insurance areas,” says a principal of one of the largest privately owned dealership groups.
“Chrysler is looking to Nissan-for small-car sourcing, as with Renault SA’s popular Logan compact car and a coming new Nissan subcompact car, while Nissan wants to acquire aid from Dodge in penetrating the fullsize truck and SUV market,” says the dealer.
The alliance envisions shared small-car and big-truck platforms, as well as franchises, with Logan’s platform going global,’s brand returning to North America and the Dodge truck franchise being interlinked with the lower-selling Nissan Titan pickup and Armada SUV.
A spokesman for a publicly owned dealer collection says Cerberus Capital Management CEO Stephen Feinberg also sees growth potential in a merger of Chrysler Financial Services and GMAC.
Cerberus owns 80.2% of Chrysler and 51% of GMAC and would like to use a partnership with Nissan-Renault as leverage for creating a larger financing service serving a wider number of dealers, the spokesman says.
Key drivers of the deal between Chrysler and Nissan are Feinberg and Nissan/Renault chief Carlos Ghosn. Feinberg has since 1992 built a $26 billion firm dedicated to turnarounds of troubled companies, among which he considers GMAC and Chrysler.
Ghosn, unable to weave an equity alliance withCorp. in 2006 and brushed off by since then, is receptive to alliances with “whomever” as a Renault-Nissan executive put it.
Asked about the alliance reports at a holiday media party, Chrysler LLC CEO Robert Nardelli calls them “a lot of speculation.” But then he cites a number of alliances in the industry already.
These include domestic and foreign auto makers jointly developing hybrid engines and producing automatic transmissions, among other product areas.
Chrysler dealers have pressured the auto maker to accelerate availability of a “competitive” small car, sayschairman and CEO Sid DeBoer, whose 106-store western dealer network produces 40% of Lithia’s revenues on sales of Chrysler products.
“Their tie-up with Nissan-Renault hopefully will bring us an entry-level car sooner that can compete with theFit, Chevrolet Aveo and Yaris,” DeBoer says.