Renault Group

Cléon, a historical plant paving the way to the future

02 July 2018
Renault - Bienvenue à l'Usine de Cléon - Fabrication de moteurs et de boîtes de vitesses
Renault is celebrating its 120th birthday this year, and the Cléon plant is turning 60. Since 1958, the site has built a solid reputation which, today, has made it a central actor in the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance that is focused on the future.
by Marion Trumier

The Cléon plant got its start in 1958 manufacturing gearboxes, before moving on two years later to produce engines. Over the years, these engines have made the Normandy site a benchmark. Classic car collectors associate the plant’s name with two iconic Renault engines: “Cléon fonte” and “Cléon-Alu”.

Developed in the early 60s, the Cléon-fonte engine, also known as the “Sierra engine”, is fitted in a number of models sporting the diamond logo. Notable examples that come to mind are the Estafette, R5, or more recently, the Twingo I and Clio I. But that’s not all! The Sierra engine was also installed in the Alpine A110 in its era. With so many leading vehicles, the site has successfully affirmed its notoriety and recognition.

The plant is also renowned for its Cléon-Alu, developed in the mid 60s. The engine was introduced in the Renault 16 and was manufactured up to the 1980s. Over the course of three decades, this engine has powered the majority of Renault sports models produced by Gordini, Alpine and Renault Sport.

€700 million invested since 2012

Sixty years into its operations, the plant now includes 141 flexible manufacturing lines and continues to produce engines, including electrical components, and gearboxes. Since 2012, €700 million have been invested into the site. In addition, the Renault Group is accelerating the implementation of its strategic plan "Drive The Future" with an investment of over one billion euros for the development and production of electric vehicles in France. These investments will benefit all industrial site activities in France. They will enable the Cléon plant to triple its production of electric motors and introduce new generation electric motors from 2021.

Today, Cléon presents itself as an innovative, high-performing, competitive and attractive plant.

“The plant of the future is well on its way at Renault, and it all started at Cléon,” confirms Paul Carvalho, the site director.

This forward-looking approach is being launched with the manufacturing of electric engines. Since 2015, the engines in the ZOE, Kangoo and Master ZE models have been built on the Normandy site.

Since 1958, the Cléon site has always been a key player in the company and is leading the way for new plants in the future.

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