By on April 26, 2013

Folks who are not intimately familiar with the peculiarities of the European auto industry often call Renault a similar basket case as its French rival Peugeot. January through March, both are down in Europe, PSA (-15.3 percent) more than Renault (-8.3 percent), but the big difference is that Renault has a much wider international footprint. What’s more, Renault owns 44.3 percent of Nissan. This international footprint helps Renault solve problems in ways Peugeot can’t touch. For instance, by making Nissans.

In a statement, Nissan announced “that the replacement for the current Nissan Micra compact car will be manufactured at a Renault plant in Europe.” Of course, the official reason is not that Nissan comes to the aid of Renault, and helps it to solve its labor problems. Officially, “available capacity across the relevant plants in the Nissan manufacturing network is already planned to be fully utilized and led the company to look at alternatives within the Renault-Nissan Alliance.” Again, Peugeot PSA would love to have a partner that doesn’t know where to make all the cars it sells. PSA only has ailing Opel.

Starting in 2016, the Micra (in some markets sold as March) will be built at Renault’s plant in Flins near Paris. The Flins factory currently builds the Clio , which shares a platform with the Micra. “The next-generation Micra will share even more parts with the Clio,” Automotive News [sub] learned  from French newspaper Les Echos.

With the move, the Micra will come back home to Europe, so to speak. In 2010, Micra production moved from Nissan’s Sunderland, England, plant  to Chennai, in India. Nissan’s statement says that the Micra made in France “will be exported across Europe’s left-hand drive markets.” Meaning the large part of Europe where they drive on the right.  The RHD cars built for driving on the left will continue to be built in India.


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20 Comments on “Nissan Micra Solves Renault’s Labor Problems...”

  • avatar

    2016 is still a long way off. Can Renault hold on until then?

  • avatar

    the worst of the march is the plasticky interior. No imagination. What’s the price difference between clio and march? The clio is so much better.

    • 0 avatar
      Southern Perspective

      If the worst thing about a Nissan March is its plasticky interior, then the second worst thing has to be its buckboard ride. Honestly now, how much more would some springs and struts cost over simply bolting the axles directly to the subframes?

      Here in Mexico, the March fills the small gap between the old Tsuru (early 90s Sentra to most of you) and the Tiida Sedan (previous generation Versa to you in USA and Canada), and both of those are better cars, IMHO.

  • avatar

    “Europe’s biggest LHD market is the UK, followed by Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.” I guess I am unfamiliar with the terms here, but I thought the US drivers are LHD since we sit on the left in the car. Or does LHD refer to the side of the road?

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    “LHD market is the UK, followed by Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.”

    Has anyone noticed that countries that drive on ‘ the wrong side of the road” are all islands?

    In addition to the above mentioned countries, I know about Japan, Australia, New Zeland and Hong Kong….The last one is not wholly an island, but for so many years was so separate from the Mainland that they could afford to do it.

    The Virgin Islands are oddball, because they do drive on the wrong side of the road, but since they are so close to the US, one sees “normal drive” vehicles…which is kind of scary.

    Does anyone know about other countries?

    • 0 avatar
      Cammy Corrigan

      Thailand, LHD.
      South Africa, LHD.
      India, LHD.
      Pakistan, LHD.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      It would be a good idea to sell them in China, I thought they are LHD. That would be a huge market.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot of people are confusing RHD (or LHD) with right-hand traffic (or LHT). There are a few places in the western hemisphere that have left-hand traffic but use primarily left-hand drive vehicles. A good example is the Bahamas — a Commonwealth country, but they want to be able to import US-market cars, so I drove a LHD car there.

      There are a few places that do the opposite — right-hand traffic, but use a lot of a right-hand drive vehicles. Countries like Afghanistan or Burma do this because they import a lot of used Japanese cars.

      By the way, Okinawa was right-hand traffic from the US occupation in 1945 until the late 70s when they switched back to the normal left-hand traffic Japanese convention.

      In Korea, they switched from left-hand traffic to right-hand traffic after WWII because the Russians and the US, which supported the respective regimes north and south of the 38th parallel, were both right-hand traffic, and military vehicles were designed for right-hand traffic.

      The original theory behind US-made cars being RHD for right-hand traffic in the early days was that the driver would be better able to see the curb, but being better able to see traffic won out.

  • avatar
    Augie the Argie

    Other Islands: Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Mauritius, Jamaica and the Falklands(Malvinas). Another notable exception are countries in southern Africa.

    • 0 avatar

      Territories that keep to the left and have RHD vehicles (to avoid confusion):

      East African countries Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania (I think).

      Also Macau – which is strange because its former colonial master was Portugal, which is a RHD country, but because it is often lumped together with Hong Kong, traffic follows the UK standard. They still have, however, Portugal-style license plates, which are black with white alphanumeric markings in the style MX-XX-XX.

  • avatar
    Trail Rated

    India was an island. Then it crashed into asia and made the Himalayas, it still does. Sometimes I wonder why the British inflicted the left lane rule on us and fellow commonwealths, South Africa, Singapore etc and why we kept it. I read somewhere that as horse drawn carriages passed each other by, and since most were right-handed, drawing swords out to make a safe pass by both parties would be easier?

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, driving on the left was the norm pretty much everywhere until the 1790s. Revolutionary France mandated travelling on the right side, because aristocrats had previously travelled on the left side and forced the peasants to the right, into oncoming traffic As Napoleon conquered Europe, French instituions (civil code, metric system, travelling on the right) were imposed on other countries

      The new USA started to switch after the Revolution, when there was great excitement to replace British customs and practices with ones that could be called American. To the point where the Anglican Church in the US changed its name to the Episcopal Church, to drop the unwanted reference to anything English.

      So, Britain did not infliect the left lane rule. France inflicted the right lane rule.

  • avatar

    For anyone interested, you can go nuts reading on the web about the reasons why some countries drive on the left, some on the right. Crackpot theories abound. But it does look like the Brits mandated driving on the left from 1835, and the French decided to do the opposite, as usual. And the US did the same as France.

    Virtually all early US cars had steering wheels on the right, but traffic drove on the right too. Sweden was that way until 1964. The Model T was the first US car to have LHD, all previous Fords were RHD. Gradually the other US manufacturers changed to LHD and by 1920 or so, all had changed.

    Who really cares? It is what it is. Now why are most power boats still RHD? Why are virtually all US road racing circuits clockwise, favoring RHD? Only the Shadow knows. Or really cares.

  • avatar

    Nissan Micra Solves Renaut’s Labor Problems:

    By way of future layoffs owing to a Micra-sized profit margin.

    Looks like a cross between previous gen Accent and a 500.

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