Through its control of Avtovaz, a Russian auto company, Renault, which trades on the over-the-counter market in the U.S., owns one of the larger investments of any foreign automaker in the country. And so it's more exposed to the collapse of the Russian ruble, which was caused by sinking oil prices. Renault-Nissan is also the biggest manufacturer of battery-powered cars, whose attractiveness rises when gasoline prices are high and diminishes when gasoline is more affordable.
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Carlos Ghosn, CEO of both automakers and the alliance, is taking steps to limit the damage. In Japan on Friday, he told reporters at Nissan headquarters in Yokohama that "we have suspended taking orders" for certain cars in Russia. Renault owns 43.4% of Nissan (NSANY) ; Nissan owns 15% of Renault.
Ghosn has been at pains to maintain his optimism for his company's long-term vision for Russia, ever since Western nations imposed economic sanctions on the country because of Russian aggression in Crimea and Ukraine.
The latest freeze is limited to specific models, while orders already placed are being honored, he said, according to Reuters. "We didn't do it (suspend orders) overall, just on some models we said, 'Sorry, until we see where this situation is going we don't take orders.' "