Renault engineering chief Gilles Le Borgne is due to meet his counterpart at Nissan, Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi in Japan this week as the French and Japanese brands aim to revive joint projects crucial to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, Reuters reported.

Le Borgne was hired by Renault on January 6 following his departure from French rival Group PSA, and took on the roles of executive vice president and member of the Renault executive committee, after his departure from his position at PSA as executive vice president of quality and engineering which he held since 2013. His counterpart at Nissan, Yamaguchi is the executive in charge of joint engineering projects.

“The alliance has taken a hit, but the alliance engineering team is still there. You cannot, from one day to the next, stop something that has been embedded so deeply,” a source told Reuters. Former chairman and CEO of Nissan Carlos Ghosn spoke out against his ex-company, saying that it might ‘go bankrupt within two to three years’.

One area of focus for the joint projects will be in hybrid power systems, an area where the alliance has not effectively pooled its research and development efforts, Reuters quoted analysts saying; each of the three members of the alliance has developed their own hybrid power systems. “That has been among the sources of the friction. Now (that) the three systems are there, we’ll need to use them in the most efficent way possible,” the third source told Reuters.

According to the same sources, the joint engineering exercise will see the Renault-developed E-Tech system used for the Nissan Juke, while the Nissan-developed e-Power system is set to be employed in the Renault Kadjar, particularly in Asia. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi is still using its own hybrid drive system in the Outlander.

The troubles faced by the alliance arose as rumours of Nissan’s planned split from Renault sent share prices tumbling, initiated by Nissan’s intentions to return to independent efforts in engineering and manufacturing, along with concerns that its relations with long-time partner Renault had turned sour.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance offers crucial cost savings, in light of an overall slowdown of the automotive industry and the trending efforts and investments toward cleaner vehicles and automated driving, Reuters noted. Financial prospects have been difficult since Ghosn was arrested in November 2018 for alleged financial misconduct, who subsequently spent 108 days in jail.

Ghosn was released on bail under strict conditions, including not being able to communicate with his wife and only being allowed to use a computer at his lawyer’s office. The former CEO made his escape from Japan to Lebanon in December, followed by a press conference which he gave earlier this month, saying he fled the country as he did not think he would get a just and speedy trial.