Algerian and French politicians have agreed to continue discussions concerning the potential establishment of a Renault assembly factory in the North African country that could see up to 150,000 units produced per year.

A high-level delegation including former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and senior Renault officials met Algerian Industry Minister Mohamed Benmeradi today (2 February) in Algers to discuss the issue.

Although no details are yet available of what models could be assembled at the factory, the site earmarked for the project would be at Jijel, around 400km east of the capital, with access to a port and would be split 51%/49% between Algerian and French control.

“There is an agreement in principle,” a press attaché for the Algerian Industry Minister told just-auto from Algers. “It will be up to 50% local Algerian production – I can’t say by what date.

“It is a factory to build 150,000 vehicles per year [but] from the beginning it’s 50,000 and will go up to 70,000 etc. They [Renault] are due to come back to Algeria.”

The Renault delegation visited Jijel this week following an exchange of letters between current French prime minister, Francois Fillion and his Algerian counterpart,
Ahmed Ouyahia, although the Industry Ministry official added nothing formal had yet been signed.

Any move by Renault into Algeria would mark the first time the automaker had been present in France’s former colony since the 1960s.

Renault has been present in neighbouring Morocco to the west for 80 years and has a Tangiers plant capable of produceing 30 vehicles per hour. A second line is slated to start next year to meet demand for entry-level vehicles across Europe, Africa, Mexico and the Middle East.

“The Algerian State has given some advantages for Renault to come,” said the Industry Minister spokesman, although he did not specify what these were. “Algeria offers that to all partners, German, Chinese, Italian. It is a climate of business – there is also the price of electricity, gas, which is cheaper.”

The press attaché added negotiations were continuing with Volkswagen, but details have not been released.

Renault was not immediately available for comment.