French president puts pressure on Renault to build cars in France
15 January 2010

France's president Nicolas Sarkozy has summoned the head of Renault to a meeting on Saturday in a bid to dissuade him from building overseas to produce its cars.

Sarkozy has stepped in after it became clear Carlos Ghosn, Renault CEO, was considering moving Clio production from France to somewhere cheaper, with Turkey the most likely destination.

Already Christian Estrosi, France's industry minister, openly expressed the French government’s desire for production of the Clio not to move abroad.

After meeting Renault’s chief operating officer, Patrick Pelata, Estrosi said: “I want to say very clearly that we would not be well disposed towards a decision to have the Clio mainly produced in Turkey.”

The French government is a 15 per cent shareholder in Renault, but the car manufacturer says it can get cheaper labour, lower taxes and lesser production costs outside of France.

Sarkozy admitted: “We are not putting a lot of money on the table to help our carmakers in order to see all factories go abroad.”

Renault has only said it is considering “several scenarios” for the Clio, adding that the priority is to ensure it is produced as economically as possible.

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4

15 January 2010

I can understand that a government and the citizens of a certain country want to keep the production of their enterprises at home, that´s clear. But if they also want these companies to survive, they have to accept the fact that in order to stay competitive, they have to produce with low costs so that they can get margins, and sometimes you have to manufacture the products abroad to be able to do so.

15 January 2010

Atleast the French government are showing an interest and have some modicum of national pride. I get the impression they would be getting involved now rather too late (are you listening Tony/Gordon) even if they did not have a 15% stake in Renault.

15 January 2010

I'd keep the Clio in France - it's a French car. It somehow wouldn't be the same if it were produced in, say, Turkey. All Ghosn every wants to do is turn Renault into a cheap manufacturer, when they are so much better than that. Hope Clio production stays in France!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

15 January 2010

[quote Mini1]I'd keep the Clio in France - it's a French car. It somehow wouldn't be the same if it were produced in, say, Turkey. All Ghosn every wants to do is turn Renault into a cheap manufacturer, when they are so much better than that. Hope Clio production stays in France![/quote] They already make a lot of cars in Turkey. But it's like BMW's making Z4's in the US and 3-series in South Africa. To a large extent you'd never know. Aston Rapide is being built in Austria too. Not sure too many people would notice and less people care.
Renault could sell it better to the French government, if they said Clio in Turkey but the new electric cars in France. But the Sarkozy is probably only getting involved because of the 15% ownership. The UK government couldn't get involved in Rover because if they had invested and the company still failed, people would have been saying "Why did you waste our money?" they can't win. So better to keep the cash if you're going to get blamed in either eventuality. Politics, eh?

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