Renault is considering producing vehicles in South Africa once the local manufacturing agreement between the SA subsidiary of its international partner, Nissan, and Fiat Auto SA is over, according to a report.

Renault is considering producing vehicles in South Africa once the local manufacturing agreement between the SA subsidiary of its international partner, Nissan, and Fiat Auto SA is over, according to a report.

Roland Bouchara, who will become Renault's new vice-president for sub-Saharan Africa from next month, told this week that the French firm was doing a viability study on producing cars in South Africa for the local and export markets.

Bouchara said part of the difficulty with finalising the study was the existing local contract manufacturing agreement between Rosslyn-based firms Nissan South Africa and Fiat Auto South Africa.

Renault has an international alliance with Nissan, but Nissan SA manufacturers several models for Fiat Auto SA. This arrangement expires in 2007 and Bouchara indicated that Renault South Africa would only consider producing a vehicle locally once this contract expired.

Managing director of Fiat Auto SA Giorgio Gorelli was not prepared to comment on Fiat's plans once the agreement with Nissan SA expired.

Bouchara said Renault SA's top priority was to extend the products and components that were sourced from South Africa. He said a special Renault SA team in Sandton was working on "dramatically expanding" the export of components from this country.

Renault SA currently exports only catalytic converters. The company secured a R7,7-billion contract in 2000 to supply seven million catalytic converters to Renault in France – and is currently the sole supplier of the components for the Renault Megane II range.

Original article from Car