September 2, 2019 / 10:41 AM / 20 days ago

Japan and France to explore cooperation on auto technology

FILE PHOTO: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire shakes hands with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko after a meeting at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, France, November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and France on Monday said they had agreed to share information and explore deeper cooperation in next-generation auto technology, a move that could also be aimed at repairing the strained alliance between Nissan (7201.T) and Renault (RENA.PA).

In a statement, Japan’s trade ministry said the two governments had agreed to start talks to bolster possible cooperation in areas such as automated driving, batteries and electric vehicles (EV).

They agreed to discuss policy toward sharing information, supporting transformation of the auto industry environment and exchanging opinions about potential further cooperation in industrial policy for the automotive industry, according to a memorandum of cooperation released by the ministry.

Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko and French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire have also confirmed the need to support the alliance between Nissan and Renault, the Japanese ministry said.

Automakers around the world are struggling to meet breakneck growth of an industry that has been transformed by the rise of electric vehicles, ride-hailing and autonomous driving.

Nissan’s alliance with Renault, which is partially owned by the French state, has been shaken following the ouster of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Writing by David Dolan; editing by David Evans

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