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AFP
May 30, 2020

Renault to cut 15,000 jobs in ‘vital’ cost-cutting plan

World

AFP
May 30, 2020

PARIS: Carmaker Renault said Friday that it would cut nearly 15,000 jobs, including 4,600 at its core French operations, as it seeks to steer out of a cash crunch exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.

The company will target savings of more than two billion euros ($2.2 billion) over three years and turn its focus to electric vehicles as it seeks to restore competitiveness in a market reeling from slumping sales, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people into home confinement for weeks on end.

Renault had been navigating turbulent waters even before the health crisis, starting with the shock arrest of its former boss Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges in 2018 which led to deep rifts in its alliance with Japanese partners Nissan and Mitsubishi.

"The difficulties encountered by the group, the major crisis facing the automotive industry and the urgency of the ecological transition are all imperatives that are driving the company to accelerate its transformation," it said in a statement.

In February, Renault announced it had suffered its first net loss in a decade last year, followed quickly by the 2020 health crisis that saw new car registrations in the European Union plunge 76.3 percent year-on-year in April.

In an "adjustment" plan announced to unions which AFP reported on Thursday, Renault said nearly 4,600 jobs would be cut out of 48,000 in France, and more than 10,000 in the rest of the world -- some eight percent of the company's global workforce.

It would entail retraining, internal mobility and voluntary departures, spread out over three years, with no outright dismissals envisioned for now.

Expansion plans in Morocco and Romania have been halted, and are under review in Russia. Four production sites in France could be closed or restructured, the automaker said, and its hulking factory at Flins northwest of Paris will stop making the Zoe electric hatchback from 2024.