Renault S.A. spokeswoman Caroline De Gezelle recently told Bloomberg News that, on Jan. 3, 2011, a management committee member and two other managers were suspended without pay upon the recommendation of the automaker's compliance committee.
These three executives were suspended amid fears that the automaker's electric vehicles program was infiltrated by industrial spies.
Agence-France Presse reported that one of the suspended executives works on the automaker's program for electric vehicles.
A source close to Renault said the company is a "victim in this story" and the group is a bit "worried" about its electric vehicle program. With Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor Co., Renault is a formidable proponent of EV technology, with the companies jointly investing EUR4 billion ($5.3 billion) in their flagship EV programs.
Renault is intent on becoming the first volume automaker to make electric vehicles available to the mass market with plans to build more than 200,000 EVs annually by 2015-2016.
In 2011, Renault will launch three EVs in Europe: the Kangoo delivery van, the Fluence sedan and the two-seat Twizy. Nissan is currently producing its Leaf hatchback globally. [via autonews - sub. required]