Tangiers -- Renault and its Japanese ally Nissan say they will build a plant in Tangiers, northern Morocco, dedicated to low-cost cars and commercial vehicles, most of which will be exported all over the world.
The plant will open in 2010, with an initial capacity of 200,000 units a year. This capacity is eventually slated to double to 400,000.
"This plant will be one of the largest in the Mediterranean area," said Carlos Ghosn, who is both Nissan's chairman and Renault's CEO, at a press conference here.
Between them, the two carmakers will invest 600 million euros in the plant, plus up to 400 million euros depending on how many types of vehicles will be built.
Renault will make derivatives of its low-cost Logan car, while Nissan will build a new generation of commercial vehicles. 90 percent of these vehicles are destined to be exported, "everywhere in the world, not only Europe," said Ghosn.
Sited near the sea, 20 miles east of Tangiers, the 300-hectare site will include component makers.
In Europe, Nissan has factories in the U.K., at Sunderland, in France, at Valenciennes, and in Spain, at Barcelona. It also has a small plant in Egypt, which builds only 10,000 vehicles a year.
Renault already builds Logans in a small plant near Casablanca. But its main plant for the low-cost car in Europe is in Pitesti, Romania.
The Tangiers plant will help Renault overcome its "capacity shortage for the Logan," Ghosn said.
It will be even more competitive than Pitesti, he said.
The project is dubbed "Hercules," in reference to its size, Ghosn said. Some 6,000 people will work on the site.
You may e-mail Sylviane de Saint-Seine at [email protected]