Renault has commenced production operations at its new site in Oran, Algeria as it bids to benefit from the surge in North African markets. The Oran site is assembling the New Symbol sedan, which is derived from the Dacia platform, from completely knocked down production (CKD) for the local market.
According to the French carmaker, the Symbol will offer a high level of equipment and will be the first vehicle in Algeria to feature a GPS navigation system. Renault currently controls 25.5 percent of the Algerian auto market, which is in turn its tenth-largest market. According to Renault, the site currently has one production line with an annual capacity of 25,000 vehicles.
It added that it is mulling to implement a second phase that should hike output to 75,000 annually. Renault initially invested EUR50 million into the Oran site, which it owns 49 percent. The site has almost 350 employees, some of the new ones received training at Renault-Nissan alliance factories, including in Romania.
Last year, carmakers delivered around 425,000 vehicles in Algeria, making the country the second-largest auto market in Africa. But the Algerian market has shrunk this year, as carmakers have only sold just over 265,000 vehicles in the first nine months of 2014, according Renault said.
While Renault’s budget models and presence in emerging markets have helped it brave a six-year auto sale crisis in Europe, the carmaker now has to deal with weakening currencies and demand in many of those markets.
Despite the somewhat gloomy situation in Algeria, Renault remains positive on the growth potential of the market, considering the fact the around 70 percent of the cars plying the streets are over a decade one and only 100 vehicles are owned for every 1,000 inhabitants.