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.