Next year will mark 20 years since Nissan and Renault joined forces as the Renault-Nissan Alliance, but a closer collaboration between the pair could be happening.

While both currently exist as separate entities, albeit ones that own a percentage of each other – the French manufacturer owns 43 percent of Nissan, while in return the Japanese firm has a 15 percent stake in Renault – both could soon form one single company. Mitsubishi is also involved in the alliance.

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Carlos Ghosn (pictured), who currently manages both Renault and Nissan, is reportedly in charge of negotiations between both companies which would see shareholders from both Renault and Nissan receive stock in the newly-formed company.

What this means for both the Nissan and Renault nameplates remains unclear – they could continue to exist together in a Jaguar Land Rover-style arrangement, and it is believed that the company will maintain headquarters in both Japan and France, although a single head office in either the UK or the Netherlands is also a possibility.

Any potential merger could prove to be very difficult, as the move would have to be approved by both the French and Japanese governments before it went ahead. The French government, which remains part-owners of Renault with a 15 percent stake, is thought to be unhappy at the prospect of reduce its impact.

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According to a source, talks between the two companies have been ongoing for several months, but a final decision has not been made yet.

Last year combined sales across the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance rose by 6.5 percent to a total of 10,608,366 units worldwide.

Gallery: Carlos Ghosn