Renault’s Algerian plant became a done deal Thursday, with production beginning in mid-2014, which will see the French auto maker become the sole passenger car builder in the North African state.
The Symbol, a re-badged Dacia Logan, will be the sole vehicle produced in Algeria. French labor unions will undoubtedly be unhappy that their domestic auto makers are sending manufacturing jobs offshore as they cut domestic production, but the economics necessitate production in a low-cost country.
A French spokesman told Just-Auto
“It is a win-win partnership between Renault and Algeria. This model has never been produced in France and never will be. We can’t produce low-cost vehicles in a high-cost country – it doesn’t work economically.”
Meanwhile, French President Francois Hollande praised the deal during his state visit to Algeria on Thursday. Hollande and the French auto industry have scored a massive coup by ensuring that no auto maker can set up a plant in Algeria for three years after the start of production. Volkswagen was previously vying to be the one to set up shop in the country, but lost out to Renault in the end. With Carlos Ghosn keen to establish a foothold on the continent, Renault-Nissan should have a strong head start thanks to Renault, Dacia and the forthcoming Datsun brand, which is also targeting Africa as one of its main markets