Renault is opening a “used parts factory” in France where its trucks will be dismantled and their main parts recovered for use in trucks still in circulation. The establishment will have a reverse assembly line supposed to extend the life of heavy vehicles Renault Trucks sells in Europe.
Or at least extend the useful life of some parts found in trucks that have reached their end of life. Renault said its trucks are designed to last over a million kilometres. Whereas not all of these vehicles will live to see that one millionth magic mile roll on the odometer, it does not mean that the trucks are finished.
Renault Trucks will bring these end-of-life vehicles to the new Disassembly Plant, also called the Used Parts Plant. The approximately 32,300 square foot factory will be located in Lyon, France, as close to Renault’s logistics center as possible.
Once the older, high-mileage trucks are dismantled at the factory, their reusable parts will be refurbished and whatever remains will be recycled. Major parts that reverse assembly line workers will pull from trucks include the engine, gearbox, cab, fuel tank, bumpers, and wind deflectors.
Renault says many other parts will still be used at its own facilities, in addition to also going to third-party recyclers. For example, truck rails will be cut and sent to a nearby foundry where the metal extracted in the process will be used to make new vehicles.
The main components mentioned above will be reused in trucks that are not yet at the end of their life. But first, they will be checked, cleaned and labeled to facilitate their traceability. Renault calls it a circular economy, and it’s not a bad way to get the most out of the company’s production capacity. A kind of “re-production” but without the flashy side.
Apparently, Renault says it’s all part of an initiative to become carbon neutral, and the dismantling plant was even supported by a feasibility study carried out by the French car recycling company Indra and by ADEME, or the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management. But it’s not as if Renault did it entirely out of the goodness of their hearts.
The company says this will help address the shortage of vehicle parts and raw materials of recent years. Parts extracted from aging trucks will go to Renault Trucks dealers and will be sold under the label “Parts d’occasion par Renault Trucks”. Like-new parts will come with a warranty and cost 50-60% less than new parts. So even though the dismantling plant ultimately aims to make Renault Trucks more money, it still looks like a win-win scenario.