If reports from the French media are to be believed, Alpine – Renault's recently-revived sports car marque – could be on the chopping block as Renault looks to close four of its French factories in a bid to save billions.
As reported by Autocar, French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné claims the Alpine factory in Dieppe – where the A110, Alpine's only current model, has been built since 2017 – is one of the four factories the company is looking to close as part of a restructuring plan, along with the Fonderie de Bretagne engine and transmission plant near Lorient and the Choisy-le-Roi spare parts factory near Paris.
A further factory – Flins in Yvelines where the Nissan Micra is produced as part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance – is also reportedly set to close as part of this plan although not immediately, but rather once the Micra reaches the end of its current lifecycle.
Despite pumping €36 million (£32 million) into the Dieppe facility in 2017 to produce the A110 and last-gen Renaultsport Clio, the reported mathematics of these closures would reduce Renault's fixed operating costs by as much as €2 billion (£1.8 billion), making that hit of closing a recently refurbished plant pale in comparison to the potential cost savings.
Although winning over many when it first launched – including DriveTribe's own James May who bought one in 2018 – demand for the A110 has dropped significantly during the first quarter of this year with only a mere 61 having being sold across all of Europe, leaving the future for the car itself and the Dieppe factory's 150 staff now uncertain.
These aren't the only rumours circulating that surround Renault right now, either. Although, as Reuters reports, the company only just sealed the deal on a €5 billion (£4.46 billion) state-guaranteed loan to help it cope with the financial hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Times has reported that the company is looking to move production of the Kadjar and Captur SUVs to Nissan's factory in Sunderland.
However, further rumours from a couple of months ago indicated that the relationship between Renault and its Alliance partner Nissan was on the rocks, with the latter supposedly looking to pull out of the 21 year partnership the two manufacturers have shared.