Renault will not be opening bottles of champagne today (26 November), says one automotive analyst, following former COO, Carlos Tavares' surprise and imminent defection to PSA Peugeot Citroen.

The new PSA chief - due to replace current post-holder Philippe Varin from 1 January - will have several immediate challenges to face - not least of which will be any decision to potentially restructure capacity at the automaker's Mulhouse plant although this could be put on ice if the French market continues its fledgling recovery notes the analyst.

Speculation in France has hinted PSA may be mulling the future of an assembly line at Mulhouse, as production at the site is already below 250,000 units per year, with the French automaker noting current volume at the factory was 224,000 last year.

"Certainly, there is a degree of nervousness, but pretty soon we will see probably positive [PSA] sales and revenues in comparison to last year, so the pressure will become just a little less," Metzler Bank automotive analyst, Juergen Pieper, told just-auto from Germany.

"Then of course, it is very difficult for Tavares when you see the French car market going up by maybe 5% and PSA by 5%, then definitely, it is more difficult for him to announce new measures."

The Metzler Bank analyst added he thought the speed of Varin's departure in January and Tavares' appointment was "quite unusual," noting in Germany such a move would normally necessitate a wait of around 12 months before starting at a direct competitor.

"This surprises me that Renault accepts this quick change," said Pieper. "He probably knows everything from Renault - there is certainly no Champagne [being] opened at Renault today.

Pieper pointed to his view that given any PSA and French market recovery, there might not even have to be any rationalisation at Mulhouse.

"We know some guys have the image to be hardline, but I don't have that idea with this new guy," said Pieper.

"It depends a lot on the acceptance of the new models and the recovery in France and Spain. They [PSA] really have three or four new products now - it is bringing a certain tailwind. Probably an announcement of further capacity measures would be difficult then even in Mulhouse."

PSA is already well advanced with plans to close its Aulnay site near Paris with the last C3 recently being produced at the factory, earmarked for shuttering next year.

The closure will result in the loss of 3,000 jobs, although a significant number of these may be found employment either within the company or elsewhere.

Renault was not immediately available for comment.