LONDON--Nissan is in negotiations with Ketchum Pleon to handle corporate PR support across Europe, following a lengthy competitive review.

The Holmes Report understands that the carmaker has commenced contract discussions with the Omnicom Group agency regarding scope of work and budget.

The development follows a final pitch round that saw Ketchum Pleon contest the six-figure brief with Brands2Life. The duo were shortlisted after Nissan initially narrowed its search to four firms in late 2011, for an assignment that encompasses strategic communications, media relations and internal communications.

While the business will be led out of London, it is understood that Nissan and Ketchum are also working to define which markets will be covered; the brief initially called for broad support across EMEA and India. 

According to sources involved in the review, the assignment focuses on making Nissan "the number one Asian brand in Europe". The search is not, however, expected to impact Nissan’s local market agency relationships at its 20 offices across the region in question.

The review marks Nissan’s first search for agency support at a corporate level across the EMEA region, where it hopes to establish leadership credentials in terms of zero-emission vehicles, and improve its digital engagement capabilities.

Nissan GM of corporate and brand communications Fernando Menezes told the Holmes Report that an agency appointment could not be confirmed at this stage, "because we are still going through the purchasing process."