FEBRUARY 9, 2009

Renault gets French taxpayers' money

The French government has agreed to loan Renault and Peugeot $3.8bn apiece to help them through the credit crisis. The loan is being justified as a way of helping the two companies to finance the development of vehicles with zero or very low CO2 emissions. This should turn Renault F1 into a fan of KERS overnight. Renault has renewed the commitment made by Carlos Ghosn in September last year to not close any vehicle assembly plant in France in the coming years. Industrial activity in the country will be buoyed by the launch of five new models and a brand-new engine between now and end-2012. A full-electric vehicle will also be developed in France once the necessary profitability conditions are in place. Renault says it is committed to developing, principally in France, systems and technologies for clean vehicles and to maintaining the necessary research, engineering and test resources in the country.

In the shorter term, Renault will do everything it can to maintain jobs and skills, at production sites as well as research, engineering and test centres. It will not implement restructuring programmes at its automotive plants in France in 2009.

Renault also says that its strategic goals are to produce high quality vehicles, grow the business in the international markets and work on sustainable mobility.

Formula 1 can help in two of these three respects.