Mitsubishi denies report of Renault partnership

PARIS Fri May 31, 2013 5:16am EDT

A woman walks in front of Mitsubishi Motors Corp's headquarters in Tokyo May 23, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A woman walks in front of Mitsubishi Motors Corp's headquarters in Tokyo May 23, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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PARIS (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T) denied a French press report on Friday that Renault (RENA.PA) was considering a partnership with the Japanese car maker.

Le Figaro had earlier said Renault was exploring a possible cooperation deal with Mitsubishi, which already has an alliance with the French company's partner Nissan (7201.T).

"This is not true," a Mitsubishi Motors spokesman said.

No one at Renault was immediately available for comment.

The newspaper cited an unnamed Renault executive and a person familiar with the situation as saying that the company was considering a cooperation project with Mitsubishi that would be similar to the partnerships it already has with other auto groups.

"Nissan is already cooperating with Mitsubishi. Renault is looking for opportunities, but hasn't yet decided for the moment," a person familiar with the situation was quoted as telling the paper. "It could be the same type of project as the cooperation with Mercedes."

Renault, which controls 43.4 percent of Nissan, has struck partnership deals on a number of projects with Daimler (DAIGn.DE), owner of the Mercedes brand, and Russian carmaker Avtovaz (AVAZ.MM).

In particular Renault and Mercedes have a partnership to develop future Twingo and Smart cars, commercial vehicles as well as engines.

(Reporting by Elena Berton; Additional reporting by Kentaro Sugiyama in Tokyo; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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