GENEVA – Societe Marocaine de Construction Automobile, the assembly plant based in Casablanca, Morocco, and owned 66% by Renault SA, may export locally assembled Dacia Logan cars to Southern Europe.

The final decision depends on the popularity of the Logan in Western Europe.

"If the demand is increasing very much with the launch of the diesel version, we have the possibility to use the Moroccan base to export to the south of Europe," says Luc-Alexandre Menard, Renault senior vice president-Euromed region, which includes Southeast Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States countries, Turkey and North Africa.

Dacia Logan

SOMACA's geographical position also would provide a logistical advantage.

"Between the SOMACA plant in Casablanca and Spain or the south of France, the distance is very short," Menard points out.

SOMACA assembled its first 5,000 Dacia Logans last year and plans to make 15,000 of the low-cost cars in 2006.

Currently, the cars are sold in the local market, with exports to Egypt and Tunisia expected in the future.

In addition to the 66% equity in SOMACA Renault already owns, the French auto maker plans to acquire another 14% currently controlled by a group of private investors.

"We did the offer three weeks ago," Menard says.

The remaining 20% is owned by PSA Peugeot Citroen. In addition to Renault and Dacia vehicles SOMACA also assembles the Citroen Berlingo and the Peugeot Partner.