A giant Renault factory inaugurated in Tangier

For the Moroccan government, the site should make it possible to develop an automotive industry that is currently almost non-existent in the kingdom (apart from the Somaca factory in Casablanca) and to attract subcontractors who provide jobs.?

Rabat rolled out the red carpet for the French group, exempt from corporation tax for five years and from export taxes. The Moroccan state has also provided the infrastructure (motorway and rail) and funded a training center for staff. For Renault, the plant is also of paramount importance. This is its first inauguration since that of Curitiba, in 1998 in Brazil. Tangier, where the group has invested around 1 billion euros, is destined to become a central pole in its development.

The 300-hectare site is located 30 kilometers from the new port of Tangier Med and not far from the Spanish coast. Initially, between 150,000 and 170,000 vehicles will be produced each year on an assembly line, with three teams taking turns. A second line is planned from 2013 to increase annual production to 340,000 units, or even 400,000 by working weekends. This would make it, in terms of capacity, the equivalent of the sites of Flins (Yvelines) or Douai (Nord) in France. When the project was launched in the fall of 2007, Mr. Ghosn said he wanted to make it the "most competitive" plant in the Renault-Nissan alliance. Since then, Renault's Japanese partner has withdrawn from the project, forcing the Moroccan Caisse des dépôts to take over. The site has also experienced setbacks with torrential rains which paralyzed it for three months. Finally, the French group met the deadlines.

The first model to roll off the lines will be the "Lodgy", a 5 to 7-seater minivan. It will be marketed in the spring under the Dacia brand (Romanian subsidiary of Renault) in Europe and around the Mediterranean, and under that of Renault elsewhere. A small utility will follow, then a third model still kept secret. These vehicles will complete the group's "low cost" range, which currently includes the small Logan sedan and its derivatives, the Sandero and the 4x4 Duster. Currently manufactured in Pitesti (Romania) for Europe, after 2013 they can be assembled in Morocco. The manufacturer intends to establish its dominant position on the Moroccan market, where last year it sold around 120,000 vehicles and which could double or even triple in the years to come, according to its forecasts. But the vast majority of production of Tangier is intended for export. Five years ago, Mr. Ghosn explained that 90% of the site's production would be dedicated to the global market and "not just European", and 10% "to the Moroccan market, North Africa, the Middle East, and even of some African countries".

A giant Renault factory inaugurated in Tangier

Renault is careful not to give more details on the final destination of these vehicles and the share that will be sold in Western Europe and particularly in France. The French unions, they fear competition from the Scénic minivan and the Kangoo utility, manufactured in France.

latribune.fr with AFP

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