Japanese car manufacturers Nissan and Honda, fierce historical rivals, confirmed on Friday that they are considering a “strategic partnership” in the future in electricity and software, enormous challenges that they have in common and where the union can make strength. As a first step, the two groups will launch a feasibility study on their prospects for collaboration in automotive software platforms, key components for electric vehicles and other complementary products, according to a press release.

“Our industry is at a significant turning point” with the arrival of “new players” in addition to historic car manufacturers, recalled Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida during a press conference in Tokyo with his counterpart at Honda. , Toshihiro Mibe. “These emerging brands, with innovative products and new business models, are breaking into the automotive market and seeking to become dominant by capitalizing on their overwhelming price competitiveness and extraordinary speed,” added Makoto Uchida, in a barely veiled allusion to Chinese electrical manufacturers. “We cannot win this race by keeping a traditional approach,” he added.

The possible cooperation between the two groups must establish “a win-win relationship, this is the starting condition” declared Toshihiro Mibe. “Nothing has been decided for the moment,” he said. The two groups are seeking to quickly strengthen their position in the electric sector, a market whose global takeoff in recent years, especially in China and Europe, has overtaken the entire Japanese automobile industry.

Sales of Nissan and Honda fell sharply in China last year. In Japan too, even if the electric wave is weaker than elsewhere, the automobile market, historically ultra-dominated by Japanese brands, is now shaken by the American Tesla, the arrival of the Chinese electric champion BYD and the return of South Korean Hyundai, again with electrified vehicles.