Renault plans major invest in Africa as European market slumps
As rival automakers move cautiously into Africa, Renault SA is building the continent’s biggest assembly plant in a bet that buyers there are poised to shift away from buses and used cars.
The French manufacturer and its partner Nissan Motor Co. are ramping up production at a 1 billion-euro (US$1.2 billion) plant in the Moroccan port city of Tangier.
Renault has also laid the groundwork for a factory in Algeria, though there’s no timetable for its construction.
“Africa is stabilizing,” Jean-Christophe Kugler, Renault’s senior vice president for the region, said in his office near Paris. “It’s better to take positions right now to have new growth drivers when other markets start to mature.”
Kugler sees potential for Africa to mirror Latin America starting next decade.
Renault – Europe’s third-largest carmaker is pushing rugged, no- frills models from the budget Dacia brand in Africa as the company gets squeezed in the slumping European market.
The Dacia brand should help Renault make inroads in the region, where it will chiefly compete with second-hand vehicles as well as Toyota Motor Corp. and Hyundai-Kia, the biggest sellers of new cars in Africa.