Renault and its alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi are in crisis mode and looking to scale back operations to help stem losses that were piling up well before the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic hit.
On Friday, Renault announced a major restructuring that has seen six plants placed under review and 14,600 jobs worldwide placed on the chopping block. Among the plants under review is the small Dieppe plant in France responsible for the Alpine A110 sports car, production of which numbers less than five thousand units annually.
Renault said it’s looking to curb its annual production capacity from four million vehicles at present to 3.3 million by 2024. The automaker also wants to reduce fixed costs by more than two billion euros (approximately $2.22 billion) over the next three years. On Thursday, Nissan said it wanted to reduce annual capacity by 20 percent to 5.4 million vehicles over the next four years, and that plants in Indonesia and Spain will be closed.
The French government, which owns a 15-percent stake in Renault, is considering making a five billion euro rescue loan to the automaker but said it will not sign off until talks between management and unions over the cost cuts are finalized.
Alpine A110 production in Dieppe, France
The modern Alpine A110 was in trouble even before production started in 2017. The car was originally to be develop alongside a sister model from Caterham but the British sports car marque pulled out of the deal due to its own financial setbacks. Renault forged along on its own but with such low sales numbers for the A110, the future of the car and the Alpine brand doesn’t looking bright.
As part of its turnaround plan, Renault will work more closely with Nissan and Mitsubishi on future vehicle development. As outlined on Wednesday, the Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance plans to increase the sharing of technologies, including whole vehicle platforms, across the alliance.
Renault will cover all subcompact crossovers for the alliance, as well as in-car connectivity, and electric powertrains for smaller vehicles. It will also develop light commercial vehicles and new recycling processes.
Each alliance partner will also become a champion for specific markets, based on where they have key strengths. Renault will be the champion for Europe, Russia, South America and North Africa; Nissan will be the champion for North America, Japan and China; and Mitsubishi will be the champion for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. It doesn’t mean partners won’t compete in markets where they aren’t champion, but it could mean their presence and lineups are scaled back. Renault has already confirmed it will stop selling cars with internal-combustion engines in China.