French automaker Renault said Friday that it would cut almost 15,000 jobs, including 4,600 at its major French operations, as a part of a major restructuring as it seeks to steer out of a cash crunch caused by the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The company will target savings of over two billion euros ($2.2 billion) over three years and turn its concentration to electric vehicles as it seeks to restore competitiveness in a market reeling from declining sales since the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of people to stay in home.
Renault had been navigating turbulent waters much before the coronavirus crisis, starting with the arrest of its former boss Carlos Ghosn in 2018 which led to deep rifts in its alliance with Japanese automakers Nissan and Mitsubishi, with whom Renault has alliances.
“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 automaker to accelerate its transformation,” Renault stated.
In February, the company revealed its first annual loss in a decade, followed soon by the 2020 coronavirus crisis that saw new car registrations in the European Union decline 76.3 percent year-on-year in April.
In an “adjustment” plan declared to unions Thursday, Renault said almost 4,600 jobs would be cut out of 48,000 in France, and over 10,000 in the rest of the world — some eight percent of the company’s worldwide workforce.
It would entail retraining, internal mobility and voluntary departures, expanded over three years, with no outright dismissals envisioned at this moment.
Expansion plans in Morocco and Romania have been stopped, and are going through review in Russia.