Renault lays plans for Spanish hybrid-vehicle hub with new SUVs

Thomas Gualtieri and Tara Patel

Renault SA Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo plans to make Spain the center of its push to produce more hybrid vehicles.

Renault will make new engines and two SUV models at its Valladolid factory, three new vehicles at its Palencia plant and new gearboxes in Seville, the CEO said during a visit to the country on Tuesday. The carmaker said it will create 1,000 jobs in Spain through 2024.

French carmaker Renault's chief executive Luca de Meo presents the Megane eVision on October 15, 2020 in Meudon, near Paris.

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The country will become a hub for “hybridization and electrification,” de Meo said. “Hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles will have a 35% market share in Spain in 2025.”

Renault is under pressure to turn its fortunes around after a record annual loss and a pandemic-induced slump in car sales since the start of the year. De Meo in January set goals to gradually return to pre-pandemic earnings performance, with a focus on catching up to rivals in the more lucrative SUV market.

Renault has identified Spain as one of the markets where it wants to grow. While its factories there will focus on hybrid technologies, the carmaker’s French plants are expected to specialize in making fully electric vehicles and delivery vans.

Of the 24 models Renault plans to introduce by mid-decade, half will be in larger-vehicle segments and at least 10 will be fully electric.