Faced with the COVID-19 crisis, a strong spirit of solidarity quickly took shape within Groupe Renault. From Spain to Morocco, from Romania to France, the entire company committed itself through concrete actions of donations or loans of vehicles, while initiating projects to manufacture essential equipment to combat the spread of the virus or help the sick.
Beginning in the week of March 13, several industrial sites in France, but also in Spain, Portugal and Slovenia donated around 120,000 masks to health care workers. These masks came from the factories' stocks originally intended for maintenance operations.
In Flins (France), 300 protective suits normally used in painting were donated to the Mignot Hospital in Versailles, the main intensive care facility in western Paris.
At a time when hospital activity is growing at an unprecedented rate, vehicle loans also help to relieve those who are committed to working alongside patients. In Switzerland, 100 Renault ZOE vehicles have been made available to several emergency organizations (Red Cross, Spitex and Pro-Senectute) by the dealer network. The Romanian Ministry of Health has been entrusted with around 100 Dacia or Renault cars for the benefit of hospital staff. At the same time as in other countries, the Group's partner car-sharing services offer medical staff the use of their fleets as is the case in Denmark with the loan of 400 electric vehicles from the Green Mobility service.
Needs can also be high on the patient transport front. In Morocco, 50 Lodgy, Trafic or Master have been specially converted into ambulances to cope with the pandemic.
While donations are essential and have been activated very quickly, other initiatives, particularly in the field of engineering, have been launched.
In Spain, 120 Groupe Renault employees created the "Renault al rescate" (Renault to the rescue) movement. A chain of solidarity was created to produce masks using 3D printers. In just four days, more than 4,000 masks were distributed to hospitals and retirement homes in Valladolid, Palencia, Malaga and Jerez. A similar initiative has since been launched by Renault teams in Brazil.
3D printers are also being used in France: the Mignot hospital in Versailles has received about twenty prototype visors made from this professional equipment. As soon as they have been technically validated, 2000 visors will be manufactured for distribution to various hospitals in France.
With the help of its employees, Groupe Renault manufactured 30,000 visors in one week to combat the pandemic worldwide.
In France, 700 visors have been produced to date, thanks to 3D printers at three sites (Flins, Maubeuge and the CRP). With the mobilization of numerous French centers and factories (Douai, Sovab, CRP, Cléon, Flins, Le Mans Villeurbanne, Dieppe, MCA) and the installation of an injection mold in the Technocentre, 4,000 visors will now be manufactured every week.
The details of the project have been communicated to Groupe Renault teams in Romania, Brazil and the Africa Middle East region so that it can be rapidly replicated where the needs are great.
The Alpine plant in Dieppe (France), whose production has been stopped since 16 March, was keen to join the national solidarity effort to tackle the COVID-19 health crisis. It has donated 300 masks and 1,000 pairs of protective gloves to various hospital departments in the region: the Dieppe hospital, the Henri Becquerel hospital centre in Rouen, the nurses in Offranville and the local Red Cross. Alpine has further supported the project by also designing protective visors on a 3D printer.
This sharing of best practices internally is now an essential lever: it is coordinated through task forces that enable the impact of a local initiatives to be multiplied tenfold. Knowledge is shared, and internal and external advances are presented with a single objective: to save time in the operational implementation of projects and to promote a broader dimension.
The same approach is at work in the manufacture of respirators. The prospect of a shortage of this essential hospital equipment is now affecting a number of countries. It is at the heart of the Group's concerns.
Alongside other companies, Renault has joined the "Makers for Life" initiative based in Nantes. The aim is to manufacture 500 respirators in the very short term. Similar projects are being launched in Spain and Romania. Most often collective, they demonstrate the importance of complementary know-how and the benefits of open-source data sharing. The MUR project "Minimal Universal Respirator", in which Renault is involved, is another example. Each time, the Group's concern is the same: to bring its industrial expertise as close as possible to concrete needs in the field.
An important step was taken in France to help Parisian healthcare workers, particularly those on the front line.
125 ZOE of the ZITY service fleet are currently used by APHP staff, in partnership with the latter. The vehicles, parked near the APHP's hospitals in Paris and its outer suburbs, are loaned free of charge to care workers. This nominative offer was made possible thanks to the creation of a reservation platform called “Hoptisoins” that already has more than 4,000 subscribers.
An additional 20 ZOE will also be deployed to assist the Red Cross in the Paris and Hauts-de-Seine sectors.