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Renault opens car factory in Morocco, the largest in North Africa

Renault opened a sprawling factory in Morocco on Thursday, which will employ 2,000 locals.

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French car maker Renault has opened a factory in Morocco, the largest in North Africa. (ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

French car maker Renault has opened a huge factory in Morocco, the largest in North Africa, the BBC reported.

The factory has officially opened in Melloussa, a small town near Tangiers, an area close to Europe which will offer tax benefits to manufacturers, the BBC reported. The factory will produce low-cost cars for the Dacia brand. According to Renault executives, up to 10 percent of the production could be sold locally.

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The sprawling, 32 million square feet factory will employ 2,000 locally and hopes to triple its production by 2015, the BBC reported. This boost could create 35,000 jobs indirectly.

The factory has sparked controversy, due to the French political debate about creating jobs within the country, Reuters reported.

"The question of building this factory in Western Europe didn't even arise," Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said, Reuters reported. "That would have been incompatible with the concept" of low-cost vehicles, he then added.

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"It isn't something that is being done to the detriment of France," Ghosn said, the AFP reported.

While Morocco's economy has been expanding due to free trade deals with international partners, its unemployment still remains high, the BBC reported.

The factory in Morocco is sure to expand the company’s low-cost segment, which already accounts for a third of its sales, the AFP reported. Renault is still open to building a factory in Algeria, Ghson said at a press conference on Thursday, Reuters reported.

"We don't want to let just anyone build a factory in Algeria. If the Algerian government wants a factory in Algeria, we'd rather it were Renault," he said, Reuters reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/morocco/120209/renault-opens-car-factory-morocco-the-largest-north-afri