Renault has invested $308 million in the Sandouville plant in France to manufacture the new generation of the Trafic light commercial vehicle (LCV), which will go on sale in 2014. The current generation of the Trafic (pictured) is built in Spain and the United Kingdom, but with Renault's investment in the Sandouville plant, production of the Trafic as well as its mechanical twin, the Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro, should be able to reach 100,000 annually, up significantly from the plant's 2010 output of 69,000 vehicles.
Renault also manufactures the Laguna III midsize sedan and the Espace IV minivan at Sandouville, which first opened its doors in 1964. The investment will actually reduce the number of assembly lines from two to one that Renault says will be able to handle all five models that will be built there, with the space from the now-absent assembly line to install metal shop facilities and part distribution.
Renault plans to manufacture 100% of all its LCV commercial vans for Europe in the Sandouville plant while maintaining its status as the number-one seller of LCVs in Europe since 1998. Renault says it has employed 1,000 people in its domestic market to begin the upgrades to the Sandouville plant.