Case F*

The Renault-Nissan Alliance Negotiations

When news broke in 1998 about the alliance talks between Renault and Nissan, auto company executives called it “the most improbable marriage in the world” (Thornton et al., 1999). Even the wedding arrangements involved major challenges. The companies’ negotiators faced contrasting national cultures, very different languages, and a complicated agenda. Opposition to the relationship came from various corners: Nissan’s chairman, Japanese government officials, Renault’s unions, and stock analysts protective of Renault’s cash (Edmondson et al., 1999). In early March 1999, Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer bleakly assessed the odds of actually having a “wedding” at only 50/50 (Lauer, 1999a).

Yet the talks ...

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