RENNES, France -- Renault will build Fiat's replacement for its Scudo commercial van starting in 2016, taking over production of the model from PSA/Peugeot-Citroen.
The Fiat van will be produced in Sandouville, France, a Renault spokesman said. Renault has invested 230 million euros to convert the Sandouville plant from a passenger car production facility into a van production center.
Sandouville currently builds Renault's Laguna mid-sized car and Espace minivan. Production of these models is being transferred to Douai, France.
Renault is seeking to fully utilize Sandouville's capacity by producing vans in the plant, which builds the latest Renault Trafic van and the high-roof version of the Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro. Production of Nissan's Primastar/ NV300 van is being transferred from Nissan's factory in Barcelona to Sandouville to free capacity for a new Nissan compact hatchback.
The Scudo successor will be based on the Trafic. "The agreement will help both companies save manufacturing costs and demonstrates how French plants remain competitive,” the Renault spokesman told Automotive News Europe.
PSA currently produces the Scudo for Fiat at its plant in Sevelnord, France. PSA opted not to continue its joint venture with Fiat in 2011 and entered into an alliance with Toyota instead for the production of Toyota ProAce, Citroen Jumpy and Peugeot Expert vans.
Paris-based analysts Inovev forecasts that Renault will allocate 80,000 units of Sandouville's 150,000-unit annual production capacity for the Trafic and 9,000 units for the Nissan NV300. Renault will produce 30,000 units of the Scudo during its first full year of production. Vivaro output will account for less than 10 percent of the plant's production.
Jamel Taganza, an analyst for Inovev, said only a few elements of the Scudo replacement, such as the front end or rear lights, could have a Fiat signature.