Cooperation between VW and Renault rumoured to be on the brink

VW's plan to realise a small electric car with a target price of less than 20,000 euros together with Renault has apparently stalled. The Wolfsburg works council is said to be primarily concerned with the potential production location of the vehicles.

Images: Renault, Volkswagen; Montage: electrive

Rumours have been circulating for months that this small car cooperation could take place – Renault made it clear shortly after the announcement of the Twingo Electric that it was looking for a partner. And VW said in March that they were already working on the design, but still had to decide on the exact implementation. At present, four scenarios are still being examined, as Wolfsburg reported at the time.

As the German publication Manager Magazin writes, one of the four options, the project called ‘Amsterdam’, had already been “negotiated through” the cooperation with Renault. VW was to utilise an architecture from the French company (a cheaper version of the AmpR Small is being discussed) and contribute the electric drive itself. The electric car was to be built by Renault, possibly in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, where the Twingo is manufactured. Whilst Volkswagen had been rather vague about the four options, Renault CEO Luca de Meo had already hinted that an agreement with the Wolfsburg-based company was close to being reached.

However, according to the report, the powerful head of the VW works council Daniela Cavallo had not yet given her approval. She is said to have fundamental reservations about the alliance – probably above all about the plan to have the electric car built by Renault. This is because Volkswagen has several underutilised plants in Europe, such as the MEB factory in Zwickau, and Audi is still looking for a successor project for the Brussels plant when production of the next generation of the Q8 e-tron moves to Mexico as planned. In other words, there are concerns on the part of the VW workforce about having a potentially high-volume project manufactured elsewhere in view of this situation.

According to information from Manager Magazin, the unpopular option of developing and building the potentially named ID.1 model completely in-house is now being considered internally at VW. However, the idea behind this is apparently not to actually go through with the solo project, but to prove to the works council “with well-founded figures” that production at Renault is not only more favourable. It is also the best way for the Group brands in general to actually realise the project.

Because the timetable is also pressing: Due to the lack of a suitable platform – the current version of the MEB is too expensive and not suitable for small cars – the ID.1 is not likely to be ready as a solo project until 2029. Together with Renault on their platform with VW drives, the important 20,000-euro model could be offered from 2027.

The decision is apparently to be made “in the next few weeks” – by the management together with the head of the works council. The negotiations could not only be about the fundamental reservations about the project, but also about internal communication, which has apparently caused disgruntlement. According to the report, Cavallo is said to have felt that he was involved “inappropriately late”. (paywall, in German)


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