PARIS (Reuters) – The Renault-Nissan carmaking alliance expects to generate 5.5 billion euros ($6 billion) of synergies in 2018 by integrating more divisions and sharing resources better within the partnership, the companies said on Friday.

“The auto industry is rapidly evolving, requiring Renault and Nissan to leverage the alliance as a pragmatic business tool,” Renault-Nissan CEO and Chairman Carlos Ghosn said in a statement.

“The road ahead is one of more convergence, working more closely together,” he said.

Increased convergence between the French carmaker and its 43.4 percent-owned Japanese partner generated more than 4 billion euros in synergies in 2015. The two companies expect to start implementing the cost-saving plan on April 1.

Since its 1999 rescue by Renault, Nissan has outgrown its French parent and now leads the way in engineering and other key areas, within an alliance now ranked as the world’s fourth-largest carmaker by combined sales.

The alliance drew a line under an eight-month power struggle with the French government in December, with a compromise deal balancing increased state influence at Renault with weakened control over its Japanese affiliate.

($1 = 0.9107 euros)

(Reporting by Michel Rose and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Andrew Callus and Adrian Croft)

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