There is an unsubstantiated news story doing the rounds this week that Renault and Fiat either have signed or are about to sign an agreement to jointly build a Ducato style commercial vehicle in Russia.
The gist of it is that the production would be handled by Russian truckmaker ZIL and that starting as early as 2014 it would produce about 25,000 Renault Masters and 25,000 Fiat Ducatos.
Such agreements in the commercial vehicle market are common simply because very few manufacturers can make the numbers add up by themselves whereas with cars the production numbers are bigger and such joint agreements are therefore less well known – Peugeot and Toyota possibly being one of the best known in the UK. By contrast we see such agreements between Volkswagen and Mercedes and Fiat/Citroen/Peugeot in commercial vehicles and as motorhomers we are pretty clear what we are getting when we purchase.
Even Ford recently found it impossible to sustain its Transit factory in the UK and moved production to a bigger more flexible facility in Turkey – again to make the production numbers add up. Those familiar with the Southampton plant will know only too well how constrained it was with a railway and major road down two sides of it. I am reminded of the identical constraint at the main Porsche factory which was resolved by building upwards on several different levels – something that could be considered to protect the valuable Porsche heritage and tradition but which would hardly be feasible for a Transit van.
The question is therefore, might my next motorhome – be it a Fiat or a Renault – come from Russia and does any of this have an impact on the market leading Ducato Sevel plant we are all so familiar with? The Fiat PSA agreement goes all the way back to 1981 and Fiat has built it in a number of plants around the world – including Russia – so maybe what goes round comes round?
I acknowledge the source I first saw this from: