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23 Mar 2022

Franck Bouaziz, Libération (France)

Under pressure Renault suspends its activities in Russia and considers withdrawal

The head of Ukrainian diplomacy called on Wednesday for a global boycott [of Renault]. The latter has already announced the closure of its Moscow factory and is seeking a solution for its majority stake in the capital of Russian number 1 Avtovaz, producer of the Lada brand. In the evening, after a board meeting, the group announced the suspension of its activities in Russia.

The position of the leading car manufacturer in Russia is increasingly difficult to hold for Renault. The manufacturer is present there today under the Renault brand with a factory located in Moscow which produces 100,000 vehicles per year (Duster, Captur) and employs 1,800 people. This unit is expected to close tonight and there is no scheduled reopening date. The subject is much more complex for the other subsidiary of Renault: Avtovaz. At first glance, this name does not say much, but it is quite simply the Lada brand with 400,000 cars produced each year and a 21% market share. Renault entered the capital of this company in 2008 and today controls 68% of the capital alongside the Russian public conglomerate Rostec. The two Lada factories located south of Moscow employ no less than 40,000 people.

[T]hese two factories will also stop for a period of three weeks from April 4. Officially, the teams are going to take their summer holidays early...Unofficially, Renault's position in Russia is less and less tenable. Especially since the reference shareholder of the diamond firm is the French State (up to 15%), which, like the other members of the EU, implements the economic sanctions decided by mutual agreement in Brussels...

At the end of a board meeting on Wednesday evening, the group announced the suspension of its Russian activities. “The activities of the Renault factory in Moscow are suspended from this day. The group is evaluating the possible options concerning its stake in Avtovaz, while acting responsibly towards its 45,000 employees in Russia”, could we read in a brief press release, where the group also underlined that it was “already implementing the necessary measures to respect international sanctions...