With the first Renault electric cars to be made in France, first electric trucks by Volvo and first E-Mobility Industry Academy, Normandy is the French home of electric vehicles. Fuelled by major manufacturing groups who continue to invest here, innovative SMEs and pioneering transport authorities, the automotive industry in Normandy has turned the sector’s significant transformation into an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and prepare for the future.

Automobile and transport: a major industry, in tune with local authorities

Normandy is one of the driving forces behind the French automotive industry! It is still among the regions home to most of the industry’s R&D projects and big name factories (Renault, Stellantis, Volvo). Other areas of the industry also call it home: equipment manufacturers and sub-contractors (Faurecia, Acome), SMEs, component suppliers and specialist bodywork companies (Chéreau, Lecapitaine) etc. 

Anne Soullez

The region also stands out for its local authorities making leaps and bounds in new transport methods. Rouen is the first European city to trial autonomous vehicles and its “Rouen Mobilités Intelligentes pour tous” transport project covers all forms of transport, services and functions. The “Le Havre Smart Port City project sees the Porte Océane take a fresh look at the flow of goods and people. Both these projects won the Territoires d’Avenir call to tender (PIA3 future investments campaign). Cœur Côte Fleurie Council is exploring how to manage transport and how it’s affected by tourism, whilst Caux Seine Agglo has launched a digital transport advice app to make it easier for locals to get around. 

One of the biggest industries in Normandy

  • 1 business cluster
    Nextmove
  • 300 companies
    with direct involvement in the automotive sector
  • 27,000 direct jobs

Industry pillars in Normandy

NextMove business cluster

Mov’éo, RAVI and ARIA Normandie joined forces in 2021 to form NextMove: the first European innovation centre for transport and the French automotive industry. It brings together 600 figures (laboratories, colleges, companies, authorities) from Normandy and Île-de-France and has already funded over 600 R&D projects (for a budget of 2.6 billion €). Its Nextcar collaborative tech demo enables SME members to promote their innovations for the industry.

Research and innovation

70% of French automotive R&D projects take place in Normandy and Ile-de-France. The region houses leading laboratories (CNRS, CRIANN, LCS, LITIS) and specialist research centres such as Institut Carnot Energie et Systèmes de Propulsion (Propulsion & Energy Systems) and CERTAM, listed as a Regional Centre for Innovation and Technology Transfer. Rouen Normandie Council’s MIX – Laboratoire des Mobilités Innovantes supports innovative, sustainable and eco-friendly transport solutions from trial to the real world. 

Major manufacturers

The number of sites belonging to automotive giants in Normandy is above the national average. The biggest names include the Renault factory (over 3000 employees) making the group’s electric cars in Cléon (600,000 by 2025), Sandouville (manufacturing light utility vehicles, 1600 employees) and Alpine in Dieppe (329 employees). Renault Trucks, part of the Volvo Group, makes cabins for MGVs and the first 100% electric HGVs with over 2100 employees in Blainville. Stellantis (formerly PSA Peugeot Citroën) manufactures transmissions and chassis components near Caen (1300 employees). 

Equipment manufacturers and bodywork companies

Major equipment manufacturers also have facilities throughout Normandy. Forvia-Faurecia has a factory and R&D centre covering 10,000m2 near Flers. Gestamp Sofedit opened its main plant making chassis parts and sub-frames in Orne. Acome, specialists in high-tech cables, built a 43ha site with 6 factories in Romagny in Manche – the biggest in the cable industry in Europe. The département is also home to leading bodywork companies such as Chéreau et Lecapitaine (refrigerated vans) and Benalu-Maisonneuse (water treatment).

Innovative SMEs & start-ups

As a land for testing vehicles and new forms of transport, the region has seen countless innovative start-ups and SMEs spring up. Let’s give you a few examples. TechnoMap in Dieppe specialise in designing and making power cables, prototyping and manufacturing concept cars (such as its electric Alpine!). ACGB in Bavent designs and makes lighter aluminium tanks to increase the payload in trucks. SGA Mobility in Rouen has made a name for itself by designing one of few e-charging points that works off card payments instead of subscriptions.

Major industry events

  • SIA Powertrain & Energy
    NextMove takes a delegation of companies from Normandy and Ile-de-France to every trade fair. It’s their opportunity to showcase their expertise.
  • Normandie Automobile and Aéronautique Symposium
    The event by NextMove and Normandie AeroEspace highlights how the high-potential automotive and aeronautics industries can work together. The 2nd event of its kind staged in 2022 focused on decarbonising the industry. 
  • Connect Fleet
    Trials, networking and demonstrations: vehicle fleet management decision-makers and their partners meet every year in Deauville to discuss the industry’s future.
  • START, NextMove’s annual convention
    Decision-makers in sustainable, safe and connected transport made in France meet here every year. On the agenda: conferences, site visits, business conventions and innovations.

Top 3 innovations from Normandy

Films chauffants de l'entreprise Heatself en Normandie
Heatself

01

Thermoresponsive polymers

Heatself specialise in self-regulating heating cables and has designed thermoresponsive plastic coatings for car interiors. They use three times less energy than current heating solutions!

Discover the technology in video

Cadecap

02

100% plant-based industrial pickling

Cadecap has designed an eco-friendly pickling technique using nut shells and plant-based soap. Result: say goodbye to the 200 tons of chemicals the company used every year to remove paint, adhesive or varnish from industrial automotive and aerospace parts.

Cadecap in video

Lormauto

03

Refurbished electric vehicle

Lormauto in Lisieux turns old Twingos into sustainable and affordable electric vehicles. The start-up won a Trophées de l’Argus award in 2023 and plans to refurbish and rent out 5000 updated Twingos by 2030. The first cars left the plant in February 2024 and the concept has already been a huge success with lots of orders from customers and councils.

The Lormauto concept

Decarbonisation, a future challenge for the automotive industry

The industry has already made changes given the high stakes: 55% less greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and no more combustion engines by 2035. Industry figures in Normandy are getting ready with the help of the NextMove business cluster.
A consortium bringing together Renault, Forvia, CNAM and Ingénieurs 2000 founded the E-Mobility Industry Academy (EMIA). What’s the idea? Train professionals with courses co-designed by the manufacturers themselves to enable the industry to overcome the challenges of electric transport and hydrogen. There are already 13 training modules available including a diploma specialising in electric motors.
NextMove has also joined forces with the TES business cluster for the DIHNAMO project. This Normandy digital innovation hub (DIH) aims to speed up the area’s digital transformation to secure connected, safe and sustainable transport

logo-invest-in-normandy

Do you need assistance?

The economic development agency of the region, AD Normandie, offers personalised support for setting up your business in Normandy. A team of experts assists you with the administrative procedures for the development of your project as well as investments.

 

Discover the support for the automobile industry by AD Normandie

The automobile industry is changing, and so are its jobs

The automotive and transport industry includes 300 companies, making it one of the region’s biggest industries and employers. With combustion engines being replaced by all-electric, company requirements are changing and they need different profiles. Recruitment will soar in the next few years, especially in the electronics sector. Generally speaking though, companies are looking for people with skills in agile software, new motors, intercultural project management, additive manufacturing and digital tool management.

Wanted !

Studio 911

Businesses in the industry still want to fill positions that are in high demand in the sector: panel beaters, welders, maintenance technicians. But if you’re an engineer (in AI, dependability, MID, power electronics, supply chain), software architect, simulation & calculation engineer, data analyst, automated line manager, cable fitter, electric car retoucher or industrial project manager then the industry will welcome you with open arms!

Courses: Normandy’s speciality

Normandy has all the courses that companies in the industry need with a trade and qualification campus for “transport industries”. It is based around Caen, Rouen, Alençon, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Evreux, Flers and Le Havre with modules in digital electronics, plastics and composites, industrial bodywork, technological and eco-design innovations, engineering science, microtechnique, machining, automated systems, electrical engineering, industrial and mechanical IT

Several courses stand out, including the Autonomous and Connected Vehicle course at INSA Rouen and “mechatronics and embedded systems” course at ESIX Normandie. 

Academic establishments

Universities: Caen Normandie, Rouen Normandie and Le Havre Normandie, IUT Evreux (physical measurements diploma), IUT Rouen (thermal energy and power engineering diploma), IUT Le Havre (mechanical and productivity engineering diploma)
Engineering schools: ENSIcaen (material and mechanical engineering), ESIX Normandie (embedded systems engineering), INSA Rouen (mechanical engineering), ESIGELEC (electrical engineering and transport), CESI (Campus Rouen and Caen), ITII Normandie
Polyvia Formation (plastics, plastic materials, composites and processes).

Was this content helpful?