Nissan to build new hatchback model in Renault’s French plant

Article by Anita Panait, on January 25, 2013

Nissan will produce a new hatchback at one of the French sites of its alliance partner Renault, according to a report by local daily Les Echos. The report said that the hatchback, bound for sale in Europe, would be produced from 2014 at Renault's plant in either Flins or Douai. Nissan plans to build 80,000 units annually of the hatchback, which still has to receive a name.

According to Les Echos, Nissan would announce the production plans as early as next week. French carmaker Renault told unions during discussions this week that it could boost its production capacity by 80,000 vehicles a year at its domestic plants for partners Nissan or Daimler if workers consent to a new labor agreement.

Renault's plants in France are among those strongly hit by the auto industry’s excessive capacity, which continues to swell as several countries in Europe slide into recession. Renault’s plant in Flins currently builds the new Clio and the Zoe electric vehicle. The Douai plant, on the other hand, is hurting from the drop in sales of Renault's Scenic model.

However, the plant is set to produce Renault’s future mid and high-end ranges. Once Nissan start producing the hatchback, this would be the first time the Japanese carmaker built cars in France. The French government, currently Renault's largest shareholder at 15 percent, wants the carmaker to support domestic employment by building cars for Nissan.

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