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General view of the Renault automaker company headquarters is seen in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France November 21, 2018. — Reuters file pic
General view of the Renault automaker company headquarters is seen in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France November 21, 2018. — Reuters file pic

PARIS, March 24 ― French car giant Renault announced yesterday it was immediately suspending operations at its Moscow factory after Kyiv called for a boycott of the company for remaining in Russia.

Renault is also considering “the possible options” for its Russian affiliate AvtoVAZ, the company said in a statement, adding that it had downgraded its 2022 financial outlook.

“Renault Group has to revise its 2022 financial outlook with a Group operating margin of around 3 per cent versus at least 4 per cent previously,” it said.

Ukraine’s foreign minister yesterday called for a global boycott of Renault over its earlier refusal to leave the Russian market in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Renault refuses to pull out of Russia,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter ahead of Renault’s announcement. “I call on customers and businesses around the globe to boycott Group Renault.” 

Renault, in its statement issued later Wednesday, said the group’s “activities in its manufacturing plant in Moscow are suspended as of today”.

Following the announcement, Kuleba tweeted that he welcomed Renault’s “statement on cessation of industrial activities in Russia”.

“Responsible move against the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing barbaric aggression against Ukraine,” he wrote.

Partly state-owned Renault had suspended its production at its plants near Moscow last month after Russia’s invasion but subsequently resumed production according to reports.

Russia’s top automaker, AvtoVAZ is part of the Renault-Nissan group with the French company owning a 69 per cent stake.

Western carmakers have ventured into Russia to assemble cars over the past two decades as the country’s economy expanded.

Renault is particularly exposed as it invested in AvtoVAZ alongside Rostec, a state-owned defence conglomerate run by a sanctioned close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“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,” the statement said.

The company said that it is complying with international sanctions on Russia. ― AFP

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