Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault Group, this afternoon (Tuesday, September 30) welcomed Emmanuel Macron, France’s Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Sector to its Sandouville plant in Normandy to officially open the factory’s new production line which will manufacture the New Trafic.
From the second quarter of 2016, this new line will also produce a vehicle for Fiat – based upon the same platform as the New Trafic – with a total estimated volume of 100,000 vehicles.
This is a consequence of the Renault agreement that was signed in March, 2013, with social partners, called the ‘Contract for a new dynamic of Renault growth and social development in France’.
Inaugurated in 1964, the Sandouville plant – which this year celebrates its half-century – is turning over a new page in its history by producing commercial vehicles for the first time. This significant transformation called for an investment of €230 million and three years of exceptionally hard work. It was a phenomenal human and industrial challenge, all the more so given that the factory is continuing to produce the Laguna and Espace passenger cars until they are replaced. With the production of New Trafic at Sandouville, the Renault brand now manufactures all of its Europe-bound LCVs in France.
As part of the agreement signed between the two companies in July, Fiat-Chrysler has entrusted Renault with development and production of a van model based on Trafic platform, with a total estimated volume of 100,000 vehicles to be manufactured, from the second quarter of 2016. The styling of the Fiat vehicle will be developed by Fiat and will feature unique and distinctive elements on the model, branded Fiat Professional.
It is testament to the expertise of its teams in every area, as well as a fruit of the Renault agreement, that the entire organisation was able to live up to the level of performance expected by Fiat-Chrysler.
Just like the Renault factories at Maubeuge and Batilly, the Sandouville plant is currently positioning itself in a buoyant market – that of the light commercial vehicle. Indeed, the Renault brand leads this sector in Europe for the 16th consecutive year, holding a 14.5% share of the market at the end of 2013. At end-August 2014, global sales of Renault’s LCVs had increased by a further 5.7% (8% if all Group LCVs are taken into account).
Accompanied by France’s Minister for the Economy, Industry and Digital Sector, Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault Group, made a point of personally congratulating staff and thanking them for their hard work. “The transformation of the Sandouville plant and the new agreement signed with Fiat position it as a key player in the growing light commercial vehicle market. Thanks to the competitiveness agreement signed in March 2013 and the hard work of Sandouville’s employees, this plant is capable of reaching the highest levels of quality and performance. Congratulations to everyone involved.”