French carmaker Renault to cut 15,000 jobs worldwide

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FILE - In this May 25, 2020 file photo, the Flins plant of French carmaker Renault is pictured in Aubergenville, west of Paris. French carmaker Renault announced 15,000 job cuts worldwide as part of a 2 billion euros cost-cutting plan over three years. Renault said on Friday that nearly 4,600 jobs would be cut in France in addition to more than 10,000 in the rest of the world. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

PARIS – French carmaker Renault said Friday it will cut 15,000 jobs worldwide as part of a 2 billion-euro ($2.2 billion) cost-cutting plan, as a brutal drop in industry sales during the pandemic worsened the company's pre-existing problems.

Renault, which employs 180,000 and is already negotiating a bailout with the French government, said nearly 4,600 jobs will be cut in France and more than 10,000 in the rest of the world over three years.

It will shrink its global production capacity from 4 million vehicles in 2019 to 3.3 million by 2024.

“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,” the statement said.

Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said at a news conference that “each decision, each cost cut has been weighed at length with employees in mind.”

Senard said the company will rely on voluntary departures, rather than firings, to meet its targeted cuts and is starting talks with unions.

Renault's leadership is “convinced that these are the right decisions,” he said. The COVID-19 crisis “only adds to the emergency of this plan.”

The company is suspending plans to increase capacity in Morocco and Romania. It is also considering adapting its facilities in Russia to new products and will stop producing Renault-branded fuel-powered cars in China.