Renault has suspended three senior managers after an investigation into alleged industrial espionage due to an “ethics alert” sent to its compliance committee.
The French car manufacturer has said that after uncovering a possibility of leaked secrets about its electrical vehicle plans the company feel it’s ‘strategic assets’ are threatened.
Sitting on the carmaker’s management committee, one of the three senior managers suspended poses a considerable threat to the company.
Each of the suspended managers has had the opportunity to comment on the charges against them before Renault’s human resources department sanctions them.
Eric Besson, French Industry Minister said an ‘economic war’ was looming.
Mr Besson said the state of affairs at Renault “appears serious”.
“The expression ‘economic war’, while sometimes outrageous, for once is appropriate,” he told France’s RTL radio station.
“It appears to concern the electric car, but I do not want to go further.”
Calling for an improvement in security, Mr Besson said he urged French companies who which received public funds to take extra precuations.
Alongside its partner Nissan, Renault have invested considerable amounts in to electrical vehicle technology.
Arguing that pure electric vehicles provide the best long term solution to reducing carbon emissions, both Nissan and Renault plan to launch a number of new electric vehicles over the next two years.
In comparison to Renaults rivals, the world’s largest carmakers, General Motors and Toyota who have spent time creating hybrid cars which are a mixture of electricity and petrol.