French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has written to Renault boss Carlos Ghosn to defend the government's surprise stake increase in the carmaker and reject claims it endangers the Renault-Nissan alliance.
The April 21 letter was shared with Renault board members and interpreted by some as a warning against retaliation, two people with knowledge of its content said on Thursday.
"What we are seeing is a real but silent struggle," one source said. Government officials confirmed only that Macron had written to Ghosn, declining further comment.
France's stake in Renault and influence over Nissan, which is 43.4 percent-owned by the French carmaker, has long been a sensitive matter, with critics in the alliance and Japan fearing Paris might put its own interests above those of the businesses.