While Renault had earlier announced a suspension of its operations in Russia, company directors on Monday unanimously agreed to the sale of Renault Russia to the city of Moscow, as well as the sale of Renault Russia’s majority stake in carmaker AVTOVAZ to NAMI (the Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute).
“We have taken a difficult but necessary decision; and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45,000 employees in Russia,” the French automaker said in a statement.
Indeed, Russia was Renault’s second biggest market after France, and the French automaker, which began operations in Moscow in 2005, sold 482,264 cars in Russia in 2021.
As the per the terms of the deal, the French automaker’s sale of its stake in AVTOVAZ comes with the option to buy back its stake within six years. However, at the time of writing this article, it was not clear whether Renault has a similar option with regard to its Moscow plant.
For now, however, Russia will nationalise the Renault plant and revive the Soviet-era auto brand Moskvitch, under which cars produced in the plant will be sold.
“I’ve decided to list the factory as the city’s asset and resume production under the historical brand Moskvitch,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin was quoted as saying by the Moscow Times.
“We will open a new page in the history of the Moskvitch in 2022,” the mayor added, “vowing” to retain most of the 45,000 employees at Renault’s plant.