A source close to the deal says the manufacturers aim to sign an agreement that will include cross-shareholdings from 3 per cent to 4 per cent by as early as tomorrow. The deal will see development costs for new platforms, in-car technology and even powertrains shared between the three companies.
"It makes total sense for the automakers to share the investment burden and will help their financials," said Koji Endo, managing director of Tokyo-based Advanced Research Japan."The partnership will deliver improved profitability in small cars, where demand is projected to be strong."
The report also says that the future alliance could help the trio save money on fuel-efficient and green technologies as stricter environmental regulations are gradually introduced over the next decade. It is also likely the partnership will create even more new models for emerging markets including India and China with a new Renault Twingo-based Smart car a likely start.
Sources say the three companies will share development costs on a range of vehicles including small cars, commercial vehicles and luxury cars, as well as petrol, diesel and hybrid engine technology.
The deal follows similar moves in recent times that have seen Germany's Volkswagen Group take a 20 per cent stake in Japan's Suzuki, and Italy's Fiat takeover US-based Chrysler Group LLC.
In 1999, Renault, France's second largest vehicle manufacturer, purchased a controlling stake in Nissan which was nearing bankruptcy. Renault-Nissan then tried unsuccessfully to team up with the US giant General Motors in 2006.
The current cross-shareholding agreement sees Renault own a 44 per cent stake in Nissan, while Nissan owns a 15 per cent chunk of Renault.