We might need to say goodbye to some truly great hot hatches.
With the coronavirus pandemic bringing the auto industry to a standstill, there are going to be some serious repercussions. Sales are inevitably down, jobs are being cut, and some car companies could even shut down. According to Reuters, the pandemic could cause one of France's leading carmakers to close down: Renault. Renault and Nissan, which have been in a carmaking alliance for the last two decades, will reportedly make an announcement next Wednesday about Renault's future.
To help Renault's financial situation during the crisis, French finance minister Bruno Le Maire is considering giving the French carmaker a 5 billion euro loan but warned that the company's future is looking bleak. "Yes, Renault could disappear," he told Europe 1 radio.
Le Maire added that Renault's plant in Flins, Paris, where the Renault Zoe and Nissan Micra are manufactured, must not close and the company should be able to keep as many jobs as possible in France, as the plant employees around 2,640 people. However, he also believes the French carmaker needs to adapt and be competitive. Currently, Renault has 40 plants and 13 logistics sites in 16 countries. Nissan is also considering making 20,000 job cuts (around 15 percent of its global workforce) as part of a restructuring plan.
An earlier report by a French newspaper also claims that Renault is considering closing four plants in France, including the Alpine factory in Dieppe.
If this happens, the lightweight Alpine A110 sports car would be scrapped just three years after it entered production. It would also mean saying goodbye to truly great hot hatchbacks like the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, which set a FWD lap record at the Nurburgring last year beating the Honda Civic Type R. The Megane also shares the same platform as the Nissan Sentra.
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Renault has been suffering financial setbacks. Back in February, Renault suffered its first financial loss in ten years, forcing the company to cut its spending costs by €2 billion (around $2.7 billion) over the next three years.