Renault to invest $393mln in Cleon powertrain plant image

French carmaker Renault plans to invest $393mln (€300mln) in its Cléon powertrain plant.

Cléon is one of the main plants of Renault in the production of engines and gearboxes. This investment will also be used for the electric motor that will equip Renault Z.E. cars.

The announcement comes shortly after the maker of Laguna model said the company plans to collaborate with Mercedes-Benz on a new high-end model. Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn declined to reveal which Mercedes modules it would use but the companies already have agreements in place to share platforms and powertrains.

Currently, Renault’s flagship is the Latitude sedan, which is produced in South Korea by Samsung Motors. By collaborating with Mercedes, Renault could replace the Latitude or one its other high-end models much more cheaply than developing a car from scratch.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance sold a record 8,029,222 units in 2011, a 10.3% increase from 2010, fuelled by robust sales in emerging markets and the United States.

Sales of Renault brands grew 3.6 per cent compared with 2010, which was already a record year for sales, France’s second-largest car manufacturer announced last week.

In 2011, six out of the Group’s top ten markets were located outside Europe with Brazil replacing Germany as Renault’s second-biggest market after France.