Renault factory in Boulogne-Billancourt

Renault puts historic Boulogne property up for sale

French automaker Renault has put one of its historic buildings up for sale in Boulogne-Billancourt, the birthplace of the automaker, to cut costs, three sources familiar with the company’s dealings told Reuters.

The five-story building, is situated in the old part of Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb on the outskirts of Paris, houses trade unions, sports facilities and archives.

The tenants have been informed they can stay on after a new owner is found, the sources stated.

“The aim is to sell the building, if possible this year. Management of the property division is currently working on a few projects of that kind,” one source said.

The French automaker’s plans to upgrade and expand its “Technocenter” in Guyancourt outside Paris, its largest research and development center, could also be on put on hold, two of the sources stated.

Renault has made no comment on this report yet.

Renault was already having a hard time before the coronavirus crisis hit sales and brought production to a stop.

In February, the company reported its first financial loss in 10 years on declining demand and lower income from its Japanese alliance partner Nissan Motor.

Renault is set to outline some 2 billion euros in cost cuts from mid-May, alongside a joint strategy update with Nissan on how to revitalize their alliance, as the company attempts to deal with the shrinking margins.

On Wednesday, two sources familiar with the company’s operations told Reuters that Renault was also thinking about cutting the number of sub-contractors it uses to develop car models in its engineering department. That would possibly save the automaker between 100 million to 200 million euros.

Renault, which is 15% owned by the French state, is having a harder time because of the coronavirus pandemic which has infected 3,269,667 people and killed 233,560 worldwide. The French government said last week it was working on a 5 billion euro aid package for the automaker.

Renault’s upgrade of its Technocenter includes the renovation of 12,000 workstations spread over seven buildings for an estimated cost of several hundred million euros.

Until now, the group has started construction on one new building and expansion of parking lots. The company is now evaluating the rest of the project, initially projected to run until 2022.

“The project has not been stopped but put on pause,” one of the sources added.

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