Nissan Backs Notre Dame Restoration Amid Push to Repair Alliance

(Bloomberg) -- Nissan Motor Co. will donate 100,000 euros ($112,000) for the rebuilding of fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, a pledge that comes as the Japanese automaker seeks to repair strained relations with the French government and partner Renault SA after former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested.

Nissan’s contribution is “in recognition of and appreciation for Nissan Europe and Renault employees as well as the people of France,” the company said in a statement Friday. The Yokohama-based manufacturer joined a host of companies and individuals pledging more than $1 billion to rebuild one of the French capital’s most important landmarks after an April 15 blaze. Renault hasn’t announced a gift.

Nissan and Renault are trying to move beyond Ghosn, who is awaiting trial in a Tokyo prison on charges of financial misconduct. He has denied the allegations. Ghosn’s legal woes -- beginning with his arrest in November -- threw the companies’ decades-old alliance into disarray and exposed a climate of deep suspicion at the top echelons of government and management.

Months before Ghosn’s arrest, his push to solidify the alliance on the impetus of France raised fears in Japan that it would boost the influence of the French state, Renault’s most powerful shareholder, at Nissan’s expense.

Corporate and individual donations for Notre Dame have continued to pour in after a call from President Emmanuel Macron for a fund-raising campaign. Macron vowed to rebuild the 850-year-old Gothic monument, with French luxury and cosmetic billionaires and their firms quickly pledging at least 500 million euros.

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