France’s CFE-CGC union has welcomed the announcement by Renault and Caterham to jointly develop Alpine sports vehicles at the French automaker’s Dieppe site, securing at least 300 jobs.
The Alpine plant in Dieppe currently builds vehicles developed by Renault Sport Technologies both production – Clio RS – and racing models. The Dieppe site, built in 1969, is the home of the Alpine brand which produced models such as the Berlinette.
“In the present gloom in which the French automobile industry finds itself, not only with PSA, but also with Renault with significant falls in market share, it is pleasing for CFE-CGC Renault to be given this news,” said a union statement.
“On a social level, this announcement can only make the Dieppe staff happy after several years of uncertainty about the continuation of the plant and jobs. It is also a good sign sent to the region for small and medium enterprises, which will have the possibility to become involved in development and production of this new product.”
Any new models could appear within four years, while the Caterham Group will own a 50% stake in the Automobiles Alpine Renault company, currently 100 % held by Renault SAS. The Société des Automobiles Alpine Caterham, which will result from this partnership, will be set up in January, 2013.
The project, which Renault says ensures the Dieppe Plant has a “sustainable future,” was aided by “substantial support” from the French State and the Région Haute Normandie, which also involved the contribution of Dieppe Maritime.