Renault SA plans to invest €420 million at the Douai assembly plant in northern France in order to improve its presence at the upper end of the automobile market.
The company chief operating officer, Carlos Tavares, told the finance commission of the French National Assembly that the Douai plant will be at the forefront of Renault’s efforts to regain market share in this segment.
Tavares acknowledged that the task ahead is very challenging and added that the company will also spend €230 million to relocate production of its Traffic van from Barcelona, Spain, to a French plant at Sandouville.
Renault is preparing for a tough sales year in 2012, with the European market expect to shrink by 3 percent compared to 2011. Renault sells most of its cars in Europe. On all other markets though, Renault and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn expects the alliance to grow in 2012.
Last year, Renault Nissan global sales rose 10 percent to a record level of 8.03 million vehicles.
Tavares confirmed that Renault hopes to reach an agreement later this year with the Chinese authorities to invest in car production with Nissan Motor Co.’s Chinese partner Dongfeng Motors.