The car manufacturer Renault is preparing to unveil a vast savings plan worth 2 billion euros within the next ten days.
Renault will announce a vast savings plan next week and, according to Le Canard Enchaîné and several other sources, the French manufacturer is preparing to close four of its factories in France: Choisy-le-roi, Dieppe and the Fonderies de Bretagne initially.
According to the same sources, the Flins plant, where the electric city car Zoé and the Nissan Micra are assembled, should also cease its activities in a few years.
Questioned by AFP, Renault’s management did not wish to make any comment, while the Ministry of Economy did not want to speak on this “delicate” issue either.
The French state, a shareholder of Renault with 15% of the capital, plans to guarantee a bank loan of about 5 billion euros for the French manufacturer, which has been badly affected by the coronavirus health crisis.
What about the Renault team in F1?
Officially, Renault’s F1 project is based on the long term, but in a few days time the French manufacturer will have to present the outlines of a vast €2 billion savings plan announced last February.
In this very particular scenario, in addition to the plant closures mentioned, one is justified in wondering whether Renault’s involvement in Formula 1 with its factory team will still be one of the company’s priorities at such a time.
This is no doubt on the mind of Daniel Ricciardo and possibly part of the reason he switched to McLaren for 2021. Many speculated why he would move from one team to another that finished only marginally ahead in 2019. At best, a sidestep. This move by Renault will surely be duplicated by other manufacturers as the rush to cut costs accelerates in the coming months.
For the time being, there is no indication that Renault should leave Formula 1 in the short or medium term, on the contrary, the French manufacturer’s team has even signed a title sponsor contract with DP World just before the start of the 2020 season, which proves that Renault did not intend to leave the Formula 1 championship prematurely.
But since February, the coronavirus crisis has passed by and Renault, like other manufacturers, has seen the automobile market collapse in a few weeks. The manufacturer has even had its financial rating downgraded to speculative investment by Standar an Poor’s.
It should also be remembered that as long ago as last February, management had already raised the possibility of closing sites in France and abroad when the annual results were presented.
“We have no taboos and we do not rule out anything. We have no taboos,” said Clotilde Delbos, the interim managing director.
This story has been updated below (22nd May 2020)
Renault look to sell team fast, amid French bailout
Formula 1 Manufacturers in crisis – While containment had already caused a drastic drop in the number of cars sold, the economic crisis that has followed the health crisis will plunge manufacturers into turmoil for many months to come.
Renault is in an even worse position than the others. Even before the crises, the old management board was already paying for the jolts of the Ghosn affair, and had to manage profits in free fall, while at the same time, the alliance with Nissan was surrounded by uncertainty.
Rumours are now circulating that Renault have had some talks with an interested party regarding selling…. READ MORE ON THIS STORY