The circular economy, the fragile second life of the Renault Flins factory

Up to 27,000 people worked there. In the 1990s, the Renault factory in Flins, Yvelines, 232 hectares, produced more than 2,000 cars per day. Today, only around forty electric Zoés are left. The channel will shut down completely at the end of March. Lisianne Guilloteau, who manages it, is not worried: she has already started her new job, matching her old one. She supervises a workshop which reconditions used vehicles sent by dealers in the Renault or Dacia network. They are then resold under the Renew label, the group’s second-hand brand. There, there remains volume. “We process 45,000 vehicles per year”explains the engineer.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Luca de Meo, the mechanic of the neo-Renault

In Flins, we also repair seriously damaged cars, all brands, used robots, and we recondition the engines and their parts. In total, 1,500 people work in these activities. The workforce could rise to 2,000 in 2025, to 3,000 in 2030, specifies Stéphane Radut, manager of the site, renamed Renew Factory, or Refactory, in the company’s new language. A start-up language that wants to convince that, despite the feeling of emptiness, the Flins factory is not a shadow of itself.

The general director of Renault, Luca de Meo, assures and believes. It has grouped all activities linked to the circular economy into a subsidiary: The Future is Neutral. In French, we would say: “The future is carbon neutral. » ““Neutral” is an anagram of Renault”, underlines its general director, Jean-Philippe Bahuaud. The capital is intended to be open to partners. And the regulation strengthens its legitimacy: since the 1uh January, the anti-waste law for a circular economy makes manufacturers responsible for the end of life of the vehicles they place on the market. They must ensure its free recovery throughout the territory and its valorization.

Partial unemployment

Moreover, Carlos Tavares, general director of Stellantis (Peugeot, Citroën, Fiat, but also Jeep and Chrysler), also met there. On November 23, 2023, in Mirafiori, south of Turin, from the historic Fiat factory which assembles the electric Fiat 500s, he announced a similar project. Almost a copy-paste. Here, the center dedicated to the circular economy is called Sustainera – to each their own newspeak. Stellantis has invested 40 million euros to prepare a space of 73,000 square meters, where 550 people will work, by 2025. There are 170 today.

You have 80% of this article left to read. The rest is reserved for subscribers.