File picture: Christian Hartmann / Reuters.

MOSCOW - Senior managers at Nissan have accelerated the development of secret 'contingency plan' for a possible split from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, the Financial Times newspaper reported. This follows ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn's scandalous escape to Lebanon after skipping bail in Tokyo, where he was to be tried over alleged financial misconduct. 

The potential split would become the latest indicator of the growing tension within the 20-year-old alliance. According to the media outlet, Nissan is planning to end the cooperation in the manufacturing and engineering sectors, as well as bring changes to the company's board​​​.

Renault President Jean-Dominique Senard, however, hopes to maintain its partnership with the companies. Nissan’s new vice president, Makoto Uchida, is allegedly still closely working with Senard on launching new projects.

The Financial Times added that in the event of the alliance's relations being terminated, the car manufacturers will have to look for new partners to survive the competitive market.

Ghosn's detention is related to accusations that he significantly underreported his income during his time as a chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Ghosn claimed that he was paid 7.8 billion yen in salary from 2010 to 2018, but prosecutors allege that he was in fact paid 17 billion yen. He was due to stand trial in Japan this year.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance was first created in 1999, after the French carmaker purchased shares in Nissan. The alliance rebranded itself as the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in September 2017, following Nissan’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Mitsubishi in 2016.