Currently reading: Renault could “disappear” without aid, warns French minister
Finance minister warns brand could go bust without help after reports of factory closures and model culling
News
2 mins read
22 May 2020

Renault could be forced out of business if it doesn't receive help from outside sources, France’s finance minister has warned.

In a Europe 1 radio interview earlier today, Bruno Le Maire warned the car maker “could disappear” and repeated the calls prime minister Édouard Philippe made earlier this week for the Renault plant in Flins, outside Paris, to remain open. 

The comments are in response to French media reports earlier this week claiming a number of Renault factories could be closed and core models axed as part of a cost-cutting plan to save €2 billion (£1.8bn). 

The European Union has granted approval for Renault to receive a €5bn (£4.5bn) loan backed by the French government to help it cope with a slump in demand and reduced liquidity due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Le Maire admitted in a separate interview with newspaper Le Figaro that this hasn't yet been signed off and discussions are still ongoing.  

First revealed by weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, the reports suggest the Dieppe facility, which produces the Alpine A110 sports car, is also in the firing line, along with the Choisy-le-Roi spare parts plant on the outskirts of Paris and the Fonderie de Bretagne engine-and-gearbox plant in Morbihan near Lorient.

It's reported that Flins won't close directly but won't produce models beyond the current lifecycle. The facility currently makes the Nissan Micra under the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, but this supermini has struggled for sales in the face of newer rivals and the electric Renault Zoe

The Dieppe plant was overhauled in a €36 million (£32m) investment in 2017 to produce the A110, alongside the previous-generation Clio in Renaultsport form. The specialist facility employs 150 people. Demand for the A110 fell substantially in the first quarter of 2020, with just 61 examples registered across Europe in February. Its future is uncertain as a result. 

The factory closures are just the start, however. The newspaper also reckons five models won't live beyond their current lifecycle: The Mégane hatchback/estate, Koleos SUV and Talisman saloon could join the previously reported Espace and Scénic MPVs for the chop. 

Only last week, the Financial Times claimed that Nissan is in discussion with Renault to build the Captur and next-generation Kadjar at its plant in Sunderland, England. 

Renault UK refused to comment when approached by Autocar.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review
Alpine A110 2018 road test review hero front

France’s revered sports car brand is back and chasing some heavyweight scalps

Join the debate

Comments
64
Add a comment…
Rick Maverick 25 May 2020

Le Maire said something different

He said 'Renault COULD disappear, like MANY companies CAN disappear". Totally different context. And prove Le Maire has no idea what managing a billion dollar car mananufacturer is all about.

russ13b 24 May 2020

What nonsense logic

the future of the Alpine is at risk at it didn't sell very well during the beginning of this year? Nothing was selling very well at the biginning of this year!

stokiesuzuki78 24 May 2020

Observation

Renault and Nissan seem to leap frog each other as to who needs help the most, with the latest addition of Mitsubishi thrown into the mix. How can an alliance of three big name volume manufacturers barely string enough successful model ranges to sustain one manufacturer? The only city car between the three manufacturers to have been halfway successful is the Twingo, and that hasn't set the sales records on fire, the Micra is still trying to re establish itself as a supermini to take seriously again, the Clio seems to do well but is overshadowed by the Captur. Just like the Megane is overlooked in favour of the Kadjar, while the Koleos has never taken off in the way that the X Trail did, that it's based on. Nissan seems to just rely on the Juke and Qashqai, meanwhile poor old underfunded Mitsubishi is being overtaken in this country by MG!

Rick Maverick 25 May 2020

Re yr observation: 

Re yr observation: 

You're throwing in EU sales which are irrelevant for Nissan. In China the best selling vehicle is the Nissan Sylphy, 40.000 units per month. QQ and Xtrial combined 45.000 a month. 1,3 mio in total annually. As important are Nissan USA and Mexico, where the brand shifts 1,4 mio units p/y. 

 

Find an Autocar car review