Automakers are spending more time taking into account a vehicle’s cradle-to-grave impact instead of focusing on the time a vehicle spends on the road. Renault Trucks has spent the past few years building the infrastructure to make the most of a vehicle, financially and commercially, from the time it is built until after it is retired. The company says its rigs are good for 1.5 million kilometers, or just over 930,000 miles. It built a Used Trucks Factory among its new truck factory complex where good commercial hauling trucks that haven’t reached end-of-life are remanufactured and updated with current technology by Renault Truck technicians, then resold into construction service. It has now opened a 32,300-square-foot Used Parts Factory that acts as a disassembly line for trucks that have reached the ends of their lives. Tractors are dismantled and their parts either refurbished, recycled, or melted down.
Components such as the engine, gearbox, cabin, fuel tank, bumpers, and wind deflectors are rebuilt or cleaned up to company spec, then put up for sale on Renault Trucks’ official spare parts portal at major discounts compared to new parts. Every part sent down this track is relabeled for traceability and sold under the Used Parts by Renault Trucks banner, and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. Fatigued raw materials like the chassis rails are cut up and dispatched to the local foundry that will draw out metal to be reworked into components for new trucks.
The initiative coming from Renault Trucks might seem less out of place after finding out Volvo Trucks owns Renault Trucks. Volvo Trucks is separate from Volvo Cars, the former a standalone company that also owns historically American truck maker Mack, the latter owned by Chinese carmaker Geely. However, Volvo Trucks has its own used truck operation, and the Scandinavians in general are known for their environmental focus no matter the industry nor the corporate arrangements.
Renault Trucks said it worked with specialist Indra Automobile Recycling and ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, on feasibility concerns for the Used Parts Factory, and will continue to do so as it refines the recycling process and aims at carbon neutral operations.