August 1, 2021

In Hauts-de-France, Renault’s electrical industrial pole is being built

This should reinforce its image as a “made in France” mechanic. Luciano Biondo, the industrial director of Renault’s electrical and commercial vehicles pole in northern France, successfully completed the negotiations which led to the signing, on Tuesday, June 8, of an agreement with all the social partners. for the creation of a large production complex for electric vehicles, “The most important and competitive in Europe”, according to the company, and called Renault ElectriCity.

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The diamond group will regroup, at 1is January 2022, its factories in Douai, Maubeuge (Nord) and Ruitz (Pas-de-Calais) within a single legal entity, a 100% subsidiary of the group, according to the text signed – a rare occurrence – with the all unions, including SUD and the CGT. Nearly 5,000 jobs in the three factories are therefore safeguarded and, under the terms of the agreement, 700 additional jobs will be created between 2022 and 2024, half of which in Maubeuge (commercial vehicles) and the other half in Douai. (private vehicles) and Ruitz (mechanical plant).

The northern industrial complex has come a long way. At the end of May 2020, when Renault announced a plan to cut 4,600 jobs in France, the future of the three sites was not guaranteed. Even today, the economic health of the group, which posted a net loss of 8 billion euros in 2020, is fragile. The social situation in foundries working for the manufacturer, whether they are subsidiaries or subcontractors, is catastrophic. In Douai, the factory producing Talisman, Scénic and Espace, which is “Designed to manufacture 300,000 vehicles per year, runs at just 10% of its capacity”, notes Mariette Rih, FO union representative. “We had to act and react. The agreement reached is real good news. “

“Constructive social dialogue”

Provided that the buyers of electric vehicles are there, Douai should therefore be bailed out by the production of three cars: the electric Mégane (the first test vehicles have just left the lines), then, after 2023, the future Battery R5 and any other Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance vehicle produced on the small vehicle platform known as CMF-B-EV. Finally, a third silhouette of the C segment, which could be a successor in the electric version of the Renault Kadjar, should also come out of these lines.

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In Maubeuge, the plant will revolve around the new Kangoo E-Tech and in Ruitz, the gearboxes will eventually be replaced by battery boxes. “The goal is to get closer to the 400,000 electric cars produced per year by 2025 for the entire North Pole”, résume Luciano Biondo. “With this agreement, we have demonstrated our ability to reform, through constructive social dialogue. It is thanks to this and to the establishment of a local network – partners, logisticians, universities – that we are able to produce vehicles in France ”, adds Mr. Biondo, debauched, at the end of 2020, by Renault of Toyota, where he had won the same bet of “made in France” when he ran the Valenciennes plant. He had managed to land in 2019 the production of the new Yaris and Yaris Cross, yet small vehicles deemed impossible to manufacture in France.

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