By on August 17, 2010

Autocar reports that Renault workers in France are jumping on a bus and heading to the Paris Motor Show. Are the doing it because they fancy a day out? Maybe they want to see all the nice cars on display? Nope, they’re going there to protest. OK, so who do you think they are going to protest? Hyundai? Toyota? Ford? Nope. They’re protesting against Renault. So, a bunch of French Renault workers are going to the Paris Motor Show to protest against their own company? Why?

The new Renault Latitude is ruffling a few French feathers. You see, the Renault Laguna, which is built in Sandouville, France, isn’t selling very well (and the Vel Satis has been canceled), but Renault have stated their intent to stay in the mid-large saloon market. Hence the Latitude was born….in South Korea. As the Samsung SM5 [Ed: which was once considered as an Aura replacement for Penske’s Saturn rescue attempt]. Needless to say, the workers don’t like that, so in the finest French tradition, they’re protesting it. And they’re not alone.

The French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault, are just as unhappy about Renault sourcing from abroad. Renault and the French government have had previous run-ins about production coming from abroad. Christian Estrosi was quoted as saying “he would be keeping a close watch” on the Latitude. Renault aren’t the only ones having union troubles. The same thing is happening at Peugeot-Citroen, where unions are concerned at PSA’s growing interest in importing products from abroad.

All of which is a bit like the UAW protesting Korean-built and developed Chevy Aveos… mixed with a little British Leyland-era union-government dysfunction. It almost makes America’s experiment with government-owned automakers look downright rosy.

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17 Comments on “French Workers Protest “Chevy-fication” Of Renault...”

  • avatar
    John R

    Ah…I thought that bad boy looked familiar…

  • avatar

    Hum, the SM5 is related to the Altima.

  • avatar

    I would call it the “globalization” of the French auto industry.

  • avatar

    It’s interesting that Renault is OEMing large cars, not small ones, as usually larger cars should have sufficient profit margin to be built in domestic factories.

  • avatar

    When you said ““Chevy-fication” Of Renault” the first thing I thought of was how boring the Latitude looks. The Peugeot 508 is also a very very safe (and not very French) design. But I guess the workers aren’t so much angry at how the cars look. FWIW, the Samsung’s taillamps are dead ringers for the 2012 Ford Focus, not any Chevy. But since the Latitude is due out before the Focus, the Ford will look like the copycat.

  • avatar

    Yet more proof that it is only a matter of time before the French economy implodes on itself. The more protective they get, the worse things will become.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Not nearly weird enough to be a French automobile.

  • avatar
    Tricky Dicky

    The real issue here is that a European automaker can not justify the cost of building a new D-segment car from the ground up. D-seg was the mainstay of profits 10 years ago. For the life of me I can’t work out who persuaded the EU that dropping import tariffs for Korean manufactured auto imports (to be phased in this year) would be a good thing.

    However, Renault will benefit greatly from importing a cheap platform. All they do then is whack a fancy body on top, a few gee-whizz gizmos to convince the punters that the car is innovative, and there you have a cheap ‘all-new’ car for the masses.

    C’est la chose réelle!

  • avatar

    Robert Schwartz, when I read your post, I saw “automobile” was a link. Thinking you provided a link to a “french automobile” (and hoping) for something funny, I clicked on it, and…

    Mike Ro. Roe? Row? Aaaah, who gives a rat’s ass?

    That’s one sure way to p!ss me off, and I won’t buy a Ford as long as his smarmy face is in/on their ads.

    Man, that will teach me to click on links on this site. I feel like Pavlov’s dog, only instead of the treat, I got a swat with a newspaper.

    Somebody bring back Jill. Please.

  • avatar

    Only the French could demand a shortened work week, build notoriously crappy products, and then complain when their employer goes shopping elsewhere. With a work ethic like that who needs unions?

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