Friday, April 26, 2013

Nissan Micra Solves Renault’s Labor Problems

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. Oddly enough, Nissan's statement says that the Micra made in France "will be exported across Europe's left-hand drive markets." Europe's biggest LHD market is the UK, followed by Ireland, Cyprus and Malta. Our resident car counter Matt Gasnier says that in 2012, some 60,000  Micras were sold in all of Europe, RHD and LHD.

We asked for clarification, but Nissan is already celebrating Golden Week ….

from The Truth About Cars

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