Renault has announced it is to close its factory in Moscow after strong criticism of the firm’s continued presence in Russia.
Following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, several manufacturers pulled out of Russia but Renault was among a number of French companies to hold firm.
The move drew international condemnation, including from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who accused Renault and others of ‘financing Putin’s war machine’.
Despite initially deciding to remain, Renault has now caved under immense public pressure and will pull out of the country.
Bosses have announced that all production lines at its Moscow plant will halt as a result of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The factory produced around 80,000 cars in 2020, according to The Times.
The decision is likely to have a huge effect on the Renault’s finances, with Russia its second biggest market after France.
The country accounted for 18 per cent of all its global sales last year and the decision to close the plant is likely to hit the company coffers hard.
The Times also reports that the firm is considering selling its 67.7 per cent stake in Avtovaz, which owns Russia’s largest carmaker, Lada.
Renault shares ownership of the group with Rostec – a controversial Russian defence conglomerate, led by former KGB agent Sergey Chemezov.
The 69-year-old is the subject of sanctions imposed by the USA and has shared a 30-year friendship with Putin.
A Renault spokesman said: ‘Regarding its stake in Avtovaz, Renault Group is assessing the available options, taking into account the current environment, while acting responsibly towards its 45,000 employees in Russia.’
How the automotive industry has reacted to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
- Inchcape to drop Russian operations completely in wake of Ukraine invasion
- Toyota and Nissan boost humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine with multi-million donations
- Tesla will pay Ukrainian staff for three months if they are called back to fight for their country
- Mobile mechanics prepare to drive coach of paramedics and nurses to Ukraine
- Car dealers face further new car delays as manufacturers announce factory closures
- Stellantis donates one million euros to help Ukrainian refugees and civilians fleeing from Russian invasion
- Car factories stall as war in Ukraine causes parts supply issues across region
- Jaguar Land Rover suspends car deliveries to Russia
- Volkswagen halts production at German plants due to difficulties getting parts from Ukrainian supplier
- Ukrainian wiring harnesses overtake semiconductors as Volkswagen’s biggest supply chain headache
- Mercedes-Benz could lose £2bn in assets as Russia looks to clamp down on ‘unfriendly states’
- More bad news for new car market as experts predict war in Ukraine is set to slash production even further
- ‘Heroic’ classic car salesman spending £5,000 a day housing fleeing Ukrainian families
Reports in France had suggested that Renault’s decision to leave Russia had come as a result of pressure from the French government, which owns a 15.01 per cent stake in the group.
However, a government official has strongly denied that to be the case.
Gabriel Attal, the French government spokesman, said. ‘Some decide to leave the country, others not. It’s their choice.’