DETROIT (AP) – General Motors, Renault and Nissan said Wednesday that they have cut off discussions about forming a three-continent automotive alliance after GM sought compensation for its participation.

“The parties mutually recognized that significant aggregate synergies might result from the alliance,” the three companies said in a joint statement. “However the parties did not agree on either the total amount of aggregate synergies or the distribution of those benefits.”

GM’s board decided unanimously Tuesday that the proposed alliance was not in the best interest of the company’s shareholders, GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner said at a news conference Wednesday.

General Motors Corp. had proposed that Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., which are already joined in an alliance, provide compensation as part of a potential linkup, the companies said. But Renault and Nissan believe compensation would be “contrary to the spirit of any successful alliance,” they said in a prepared statement ahead of Wagoner’s news conference.

The reason for demanding compensation was twofold, GM spokesman Brian Akre said. First of all, GM wanted payment because it believed it would have benefited from the alliance far less than Renault and Nissan would have, Akre said.

In addition, an alliance could have prevented GM from teaming up with other companies, and the automaker believed it should be compensated for giving up those potential opportunities, he said.

GM shares fell 9 cents to close at $33.32 on the New York Stock Exchange.

GM is the world’s largest automaker but has been losing market share at home to Asian rivals, who enjoy a reputation among some consumers for making more fuel-efficient cars. It also is at a disadvantage to Asian automakers because of large accumulated pension and health costs.

It lost more than $10.6 billion last year but has said a restructuring program that includes massive job cuts and plant closings is already starting to pay off.

Wagoner said the board was concerned the alliance would be a distraction from the automaker’s turnaround efforts.

“We felt that the complexities of working with three companies could slow us down,” he said.

The announcement came ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline that the two sides had set for evaluating the proposal and a week after Wagoner and Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn met face to face in Paris. Afterward, GM officials voiced skepticism about the proposed linkup, saying Renault-Nissan stands to benefit more than GM.

The idea to join the alliance has been promoted by billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who owns a 9.9 percent stake in GM. After Wagoner’s meeting with Ghosn, Kerkorian turned up the heat by announcing he might increase his stake in the company. He also called for an evaluation of the alliance proposals by independent advisers.

Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. said Wednesday that it was disappointed about the end of the alliance talks.

“We believe that General Motors’ participation in a global alliance with Renault and Nissan would have enabled GM to realize substantial synergies and cost savings,” Tracinda spokeswoman Carrie Bloom said in a statement. “We regret that the board did not obtain its own independent evaluation of the alliance.”

Wagoner said he had not yet talked to Tracinda about the decision but stressed that the decision to terminate the talks was a unanimous decision by GM’s board, which met all day Tuesday to discuss the possible alliance. The private equity firm is represented on the board by Jerome York.

Wagoner declined to term the decision a vote of confidence by the board in his leadership or in the company’s ongoing turnaround plan.

“We just keep it simple. We’re just, everyday, making the decisions that are right for the business,” he said.

David Cole, chairman of the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, said an alliance was not as attractive to GM now as it might have been a few years ago. That’s because the company has been standardizing its processes and components across the globe and is just starting to reap the benefits.

“The last thing GM was going to do was, in a sense, give a competitor that economy of scale,” he said.

There had been speculation that Renault-Nissan could shift its sights for an alliance to another U.S. automaker, Ford Motor Co., if the talks with GM collapsed.

“Right now we’re looking at things, but we’ve had no contact with Ford at this point that I’m aware of,” said Fred Standish, director of corporate communications for Nissan North America. “But we don’t know what the future may hold.”



Associated Press Writer Rose French in Nashville contributed to this story.

AP-ES-10-04-06 1651EDT


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