Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi said Thursday they would deepen their alliance as they sought to cut costs and increase output and remain the world's top car manufacturing group.
While the automakers have cooperated for some time in a number of areas, the latest initiative intends to move cooperation into product development, with joint teams in each market segment.
Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the alliance, said each company will "continue to have total control on their product line-up" and work on their own designs.
"But the people who, from a technical point of view, respond to these requests are going to be working under a single leadership to make sure that all the commonalities that we are working on are being used", which will deliver savings to the group.
Project leaders have been appointed for engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and business development among other areas.
Renault recently announced record profits for last year, while the alliance took the mantle of top-selling carmaker with 10.6 million vehicles sold worldwide in 2017.
But with Ghosn, who turns 64 this month, seen as holding the sprawling three-company construct together, the question of the future of the alliance has come to the forefront as he was reappointed to lead Renault last month.
In a recent interview with AFP, Ghosn said there were "no taboos" and said they were looking to increase convergence while leaving the companies independent in their own markets.
On Thursday, he told journalists in a conference call that this was the aspect where the alliance was irreversible.
"As long as the three companies see the alliance as a turbo-charger for their own performance, they will continue to" converge their operations, he argued.
The group's Alliance 2022 plan, unveiled last year, targets making more than 10 billion euros in cost savings over the five years and raise sales to 14 million vehicles.
The projects announced Thursday must still be approved by the management of each company following consultations with worker representatives.
They include integrating Mitsubishi, which joined the alliance in 2016, into existing joint initiatives.
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