French auto giant Renault and Japanese titan Nissan Motor Company are to extend their alliance of five years, creating a framework that could eventually lead to fullscale merger.

Renault is to report increasingly detailed sales and profit figures in combination with those of Tokyo-headquartered Nissan. And next year, in an unprecedented move, will appoint Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn -- who masterminded Nissan's remarkable turnaround -- to succeed Louis Schweitzer as head of Renault.

Brazilian-born Ghosn will retain his post at Nissan, while Schweitzer stays on at Renault in the role of nonexecutive chairman.

It is not known how this will affect the automakers' respective agencies -- except, of course, to hone their performance to razor-sharpness.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff