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Nissan, Renault looking for U.S. partner UPDATE Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co., a Japanese automaker in search of an American partner, are in talks on possible ways to help each other develop new vehicles, people familiar with the situation said Thursday.

They said the discussions began in the summer after Daimler AG agreed to sell Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management LP.

At this stage, the talks are limited to technical cooperation: Nissan is interested in Chrysler's expertise in full-size truck manufacturing, while the newly private Auburn Hills automaker wants to tap Nissan's strength in developing appealing small cars.

The two automakers are not discussing the kind of over-arching alliance, including equity stakes, that Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was seeking last year with General Motors Corp., the sources said.

GM's management, backed by its board, rebuffed Ghosn's proposal last year to form a three-way alliance of GM, Nissan and its controlling shareholder, France's Renault SA.

Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob Nardelli told reporters at the automaker's holiday party Thursday that he had not spoken with Ghosn. But he said Chrysler needed to look at potential global partnerships.

Nissan declined to comment on the talks, which were first reported by Bloomberg News.

"Nissan has no comment on this," said Fred Standish, a U.S.-based Nissan spokesman. More at Detroit News

10/27/07 Carlos Ghosn, who heads the automakers Nissan of Japan and Renault of France, said Wednesday he remains interested in a partnership with a major U.S. automaker, although he is not in talks or aggressively looking just yet.

Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told reporters the timing wasn’t right to expand the Nissan-Renault alliance, formed in 1999, because Nissan Motor Co. is now in a lull of “consolidation” before going to the next stage of growth. The only partner that would make sense is somebody who is very big in North America,” he said at a hotel on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show.

He did not mention by name any of the three biggest U.S. automakers — General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. or Chrysler LLC.

Speculation has been growing that Chrysler and Ford may be looking for partners as they struggle to restructure their operations and boost profits.

A year ago, talks between Ghosn and GM about a possible alliance ended without a deal. Proponents said the alliance would create significant savings, but critics said it could be a distraction from GM’s efforts to return to profitability.

The talks ended after three months when GM sought payment from Renault SA and Nissan for what the U.S. carmaker said would have been a disproportionate share of the benefits of an alliance.

Other cross-continental auto alliances have failed, such as the one between Daimler AG of Germany and Chrysler of the U.S.

Ghosn noted he has made the collaboration between Nissan and Renault work to the benefit of both companies. Detroit Free Press

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