Renault's plans to launch its new high-powered Clio V-6 this summer have been thrown into confusion because of a 'little difficulty' at the Autonova plant in Uddevalla, Sweden.
Relations at the plant between joint venture partners Volvo Car Corp. and TWR Ltd., the British specialist engineering company, have not been good. First, there was quality problems with the Volvo C70 coupe model assembled there. Now, the Swedish automaker's new owner Ford Motor Co., is unhappy at the prospect of building Renaults there - particularly as it says it knew nothing of the plan until it was announced in the press last summer.
Senior Volvo sources confirmed that the company knew nothing of the negotiations Between TWR chief Tom Walkinshaw and Renault to assemble the RenaultSport V-6 Clio. Now that Volvo has taken over a majority share in the plant at Uddevalla, the sources added that the plan was unlikely to go ahead - all of which was news to Renault. The French automaker confirmed that negotiations on production plans for the sporty Clio are going ahead, but alternative arrangements already are being made. Renault is looking at the cost of tooling up its plant in Dieppe, which once produced the high-powered alpine sports car. This could delay the launch of the Clio V-6 for up to six months. A spokesman said a decision was expected at the beginning of May. He added: 'It is not an ideal situation. We already have many orders for the new car, and it will not be good if we have to tell those customers they will have to wait an additional six months.'