TOKYO/DETROIT – Two months of talks between General Motors Corp. (GM), Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. have resulted in little progress toward a possible alliance, according to the Wall Street Journal and Detroit News.
Nissan and Renault favor a broader-ranging alliance that might result in large savings than does GM, the newspapers said, citing people familiar with the matter.
GM, the world's biggest auto maker, would prefer to limit the proposed cooperation to a few dozen plants and several vehicles, the Detroit News said.
The Wall Street Journal in its online edition said GM executives, particularly those responsible for purchasing items such as parts and supplies, had found fewer potential benefits than their Renault-Nissan counterparts.
The three auto makers began a 90-day review of the benefits of a potential alliance in July. The review is due to end on October 15.
"There is nothing I can say other than that we are committed to the 90-day window that we agreed to," said GM spokeswoman Renee Rashid-Merem in response to the Detroit News report.
Nissan's head of communications Simon Sproule said the reports were just "noise."
"Until (the 90-day period is) concluded, it's really difficult to say which way it would go. There are many people speculating but I think there are few people who actually know what is going on," he said.
Standard & Poor's said on Thursday the proposed alliance provides too much "execution risk" for GM and is unlikely.
Analysts have warned since the talks began that a tie-up might not produce the cost-savings suggested by GM's billionaire shareholder Kirk Kerkorian — the original architect of the discussions — and could threaten to distract both CEOs at crucial times for their respective firms.
GM is closing plants and shrinking its workforce as part of a major restructuring of its North American operations and is scrambling to roll out more fuel-efficient cars to reduce its reliance on sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks which have emerged as the weakest part of the auto market.
Nissan, caught in a worldwide slump due to a dearth of new cars, is expected to post weaker earnings in the first-half of this business year and analysts say a sufficient turnaround in the latter half is far from certain.
Nissan's shares were down 0.6 percent at 1,314 yen in Tokyo afternoon trade compared with 1.1 percent decline in the transportation equipment index.