Renault could close Alpine factory and axe models, reports suggest

21 May 2020 - autocar

Renault could close Alpine factory and axe models, reports suggest

French media reports four Renault factories and multiple models are at risk in restructuring plan to save €2bn

Renault is looking to close four factories across France, including the Alpine factory in Dieppe, according to French media reports. It's also claimed that five models are at risk of being abandoned.

First revealed by weekly newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, the closures are a core part of a restructuring plan for the French company, with the intention to reduce fixed costs by €2 billion (£1.8bn).

Reports suggest the Dieppe facility, which produces the Alpine A110 sports car, is 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 near Lorient.

A further facility (Flins, in the town of Yvelines, outside Paris) won't close directly but won't produce models beyond the current lifecycle, it's said. 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 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, Koleos SUV and Talisman saloon could join the previously reported Espace and Scénic MPVs for the chop.

However, last night Reuters reported Renault has secured a €5bn state-guaranteed loan to help it cope with a slump in demand and reduced liquidity due to the coronavirus pandemic. It's unclear whether this loan will alter the firm's restructuring plans, which are due to be announced at the end of the month.

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.

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