As a vital partner in the development of the country’s automotive industry, could you describe Renault Group’s Moroccan ecosystem and how it’s helping the government to meet its ambitions for the sector?
Before talking about the Renault ecosystem in Morocco today, I’ll first take a look at the path we’ve taken to get here. Renault Group has been present in the kingdom for more than 90 years and we’re fortunate to have supported the birth of the automotive industry some sixty years ago with Somaca, our plant in Casablanca. From 2005, the automotive industry began to transition with our manufacture of the Dacia brand at Somaca. However, it was with the launch of the Renault Tangier project in 2007 that the automotive industry was transformed to make Morocco a leading industrial country in this sector. It is undeniably thanks to the vision of King Mohamed VI to develop this industry that the country has been able to record very fine achievements.
One of the major axes of our growth in the kingdom is the development of our industrial ecosystem to support it. In 2016, the group committed to developing its ecosystem of suppliers and to achieving two key objectives by 2023: an integration rate of 65 percent and an annual turnover of parts and components of at least €1.5 billion. Today, we have reached the bar of 64-percent local integration and €1.3 billion turnover. The number of tier 1 suppliers installed in Morocco has tripled from 26 to 76. A whole sector is committed alongside us, and we are in line to achieve the objectives of this first ecosystem stage.
In 2021, we announced the signing of a new phase of the Renault Ecosystem, which aims for 80-percent local integration and a target of €3 billion in sales over time. It’s a new industrial dynamic, as well as a new commitment to local integration, which reinforces the positioning of the Moroccan automotive industry and of the Made in Morocco brand on a regional and international scale.
More recently, in June 2022, Renault Group and Managem Group announced the signing of an agreement for the sustainable supply of Moroccan cobalt—it’s a strategic partnership aimed at securing low-carbon cobalt sulphate produced in Morocco and guaranteeing the traceability of the supply chain of electric batteries produced in Europe. This agreement is part of the commitments made by Renault Group to the country to develop the Renault ecosystem in Morocco. It’s an agreement that will also support the development of the Moroccan automotive industry and strengthen Morocco’s position as a platform for the production and export of equipment, motor vehicles and, now, strategic materials of Moroccan origin, such as cobalt, manganese and copper.
With these agreements, our entire ecosystem in Morocco is being strengthened, and that makes it possible to create value, jobs and contribute to the exponential increase in exports in the automotive sector. This is clearly the realization of the royal vision deployed throughout the past 20 years.
Renault Group Morocco produced 303,591 vehicles in 2021, a 10 percent increase on 2020. What are the primary drivers of this growth and what are your expectations for the future?
In 2021, we managed to maintain our industrial and commercial leadership, despite a turbulent context linked to the repercussions of the health crisis and the supply of electronic components, which impacted the entire global automotive industry.
The launch of production of new high-potential products in our Tangier and Casablanca plants—the Renault Express and Dacia Sandero at the Tangier plant, and the Dacia Sandero and Dacia Logan at the Casablanca-Somaca plant—plus the signing of the new phase of the Renault Ecosystem, and the renewal of the ranges marketed by the Dacia and Renault brands on the local market, have further consolidated the group’s position as a driving force in the Moroccan automotive industry.
At the commercial level, Renault Group remained the national market leader in 2021 and is maintaining a market share of 40 percent—Dacia is the top brand in the kingdom and Renault is the second. On the industrial level, our Tangier and Casablanca factories recorded a 10-percent increase in production compared to the previous year—that’s more than 303,000 vehicles, of which nearly 84 percent were exported.
In the first half of 2022, and despite the repercussions of the electronic components crisis, which continues to impact the entire global automotive industry, the group further consolidated its role as a locomotive of the Moroccan automotive industry and national leader. We exported 139,104 vehicles in the first half of the year, an increase of 10.6 percent compared to the same period last year. The production of the group’s two factories in Morocco reached 168,239 vehicles during this same period.
The industrialization of new models in our Tangier and Casablanca factories in 2021 and the ramping up of the Renault Ecosystem have enabled the group to reach the bar of 64-percent local integration and €1.3 billion in sourcing, in line with its 2023 commitments. In 2022, we will continue to consolidate our position as the industrial base of the Renault Group. On the local market, we will continue to strengthen our place as national market leader with our Dacia and Renault brands.
Our fundamentals are good and our progress is tangible, despite the still difficult context. The 2023 objectives of the Renault Ecosystem are within reach and we are already preparing for the future.
“The kingdom is clearly one of the pillars of our “Renaulution” strategic plan, with which we are directing the group’s activity toward more value creation. We have the assets to get there and Morocco is one of them.”
Renault Group has the widest range of vehicles on the Moroccan market. What are Renault’s other primary competitive advantages in the country?
We have strong assets through a robust range of products that are adapted to the national market and with a quality-price ratio in line with the expectations of our customers. Our innovative service and financing offers are also advantages—our financial subsidiary, Mobilize Financial Services, offers solutions adapted to the specific needs and constraints of each client, for example.
The group also has the leading automotive network in Morocco, with a strong coverage of 91 sites, covering all regions of the kingdom and offering an optimal customer experience. Moreover, in the ranking of car sales in the kingdom, Renault and Dacia models take the first seven places.
Inaugurated in 2012 by King Mohammed VI, the Renault factory in Tangier is a core piece of Renault’s operations around the world. What is the significance of this plant to the group and the Moroccan automobile industry?
Renault Group in Morocco is backed by an industrial system with a production capacity of more than 440,000 vehicles per year thanks to our two factories: our factory in Casablanca has been a flagship of the automotive industry since 1966 and the Renault plant in Tangier is the largest automotive plant in Africa and the world’s first environmentally friendly plant: there’s no effluent discharge and it’s carbon neutral The plant has a production capacity of 340,000 vehicles a year and manufactures Dacia vehicles—the Dacia Sandero, Lodgy, Dokker and Logan—and the Renault Express. It now has more than 8,900 employees. The launch of the Renault plant in 2012 in the presence of King Mohamed VI gave a real boost to the national automotive industry.
Today, Morocco is a major industrial platform for Renault, with 11 percent of the vehicles sold by the group around the world being produced in this country, which reinforces the positioning of the Moroccan automotive industry and the Made in Morocco brand regionally and internationally. The kingdom is clearly one of the pillars of our “Renaulution” strategic plan, with which we are directing the group’s activity toward more value creation. We have the assets to get there and Morocco is one of them.
The plant in Tangier also contributes to the Renault Group’s strategy for reducing its environmental impact as much as possible. Can you tell us more about Renault’s sustainability initiatives?
Renault Group has chosen to make a strong contribution by directing its strategy toward the quality and sustainability of its products in order to accelerate the ecological transition and, consequently, the reduction of its carbon emissions.
The group has set itself the goal of achieving carbon neutrality in Europe by 2040 and worldwide by 2050 over the entire life cycle of its vehicles—all brands and activities combined. The group was also the first car manufacturer to set a public and quantified target for reducing its carbon footprint. The results are clear: at the end of 2020, we had reduced our carbon footprint by an average of 20 percent compared to 2010, per vehicle sold.
In Morocco, we are perfectly in line with the group’s objectives, in particular through our Tangier plant, which was the first automobile production site in the world to move toward zero carbon and zero emissions. This plant stands out for its energy efficiency that respects the environment, and it’s unrivaled in the automotive industry.
In terms of decarbonization, the Tangier plant favors renewable and, therefore, carbon-free energy sources to meet its thermal and electrical energy needs. It has a zero-carbon-dioxide-emission design—thanks to innovative use of biomass and energy supplied by a local wind farm—and a zero-discharge-of-industrial-effluent design, thanks to a closed-loop wastewater treatment process. More than 90 percent of its energy needs come from renewable energies and we avoid the release of more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
Renault has designed its Tangier plant by integrating an innovative biomass boiler, capable of producing the thermal energy necessary for all the needs of the paint process, whereas a conventional plant would mainly use fossil fuels. Today, this is an unparalleled approach in the automotive industry. Moreover, more than 60 percent of the biofuel used in the boiler room is made up of vegetable waste from the local olive-oil industry: olive pits and especially pomace, which is residue from the grinding of olives. As Morocco is a major producer of olive oil, this local biofuel is available in large quantities. The rest of the biofuel is ground wood of local origin. It comes mainly from the transport pallets used for the needs of the factory itself, which, once used, are crushed directly on site.
As I mentioned, the Renault plant in Tangier is also designed as a zero-effluent-discharge industrial center. Preserving water resources is essential, particularly in a water-stressed country like Morocco, to reduce our impact on ecosystems and to ensure the sustainability of our supplies. The absence of industrial-effluent discharge is based on 100-percent recycling of industrial wastewater. This is done in several ways: a true closed-loop wastewater treatment plant saves around 900 cubic meters per day; industrial water consumption is controlled, thanks to the optimization of various processes and the complete reuse of industrial wastewater from the plant; and thirdly, since the end of 2015, the plant has had a basin to contain any accidental pollution in order to avoid its release into the environment, and also to treat the rainwater drained onto the site.
The total savings achieved by the Renault plant in Tangier on its industrial water consumption amount to approximately 70 percent, compared to a conventional plant of equivalent capacity.
The government of Morocco, along with the Moroccan Investment and Development Agency, has made great strides with promoting the Made in Morocco brand internationally. Broadly speaking, what has Renault’s experience been with “making in Morocco”?
Positioned as a gateway to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Morocco represents a highly attractive destination for investors with high added values. At the same time, there is a strong will from King Mohamed VI through the whole government and its industrial partners to develop the country’s industries. This aligned vision, international openness, great industrial potential and the establishment of infrastructure, such as world-class port facilities, roads, railways, free zones and clean energy, have made it possible to develop a real ecosystem.
Today, the conditions for success are in place to continue the development of the country’s industrial sectors and, in particular, its automotive sector, which continues to strengthen its ecosystem with the arrival of new suppliers, thereby reinforcing the Made in Morocco brand.