RENNES, France -- Renault declined to comment on trade union claims that Turkey will become the main production site for its new Clio subcompact car in a move to cut costs.
Renault plans to build more than 70 percent of its fourth-generation Clio models in Turkey, union sources told Reuters. The shift that could inflame tensions with workers and the government, its biggest shareholder.
The outgoing Clio was built in Flins, France, Valladolid, Spain, and Bursa, Turkey. A Renault spokeswoman said Flins and Bursa will be the production sites for the new models but said it is not possible to predict the volume split between the two sites at this time.
"We are producing the Clio in both factories to be able to balance the volumes," the spokeswoman told Automotive News Europe.
During internal presentations, Renault disclosed plans to source less than 30 percent of the new Clio from France, Reuters reported, citing two union officials who declined to be identified.
Renault will export Clios built in Bursa to Russia and other eastern European markets, Ali Kassai, the automaker's head of minicars and subcompacts, told Automotive News Europe at the Paris auto show. "We will use Bursa to mainly export cars to Russia and to the Euromed region and also to western Europe. Flins will serve mostly western Europe."
Last year, Renault built 147,971 Clio hatchbacks in Flins. Bursa produced 42,426 Clio station wagons and Valladolid built 48,974 Clio hatchbacks, according to company figures.
Ian Fletcher, an analyst for IHS Automotive, said it made sense for Renault to build the majority of Clios in Turkey where costs are less than in France.