Renault will build more cars for partners under union deal
French factories may produce Mercedes or Nissan models
PARIS (Reuters) -- Renault will announce plans within months to build more vehicles for Daimler or alliance partner Nissan after reaching a new deal with unions, the carmaker said.
Under the labor agreement signed today, Renault said it would build 80,000 vehicles annually for the partner brands, helping safeguard French jobs as demand for new cars slumps in Europe.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn declined to comment on recent press reports that the automaker will build Mercedes A- and B-class models at its French plants.
"By the end of 2013 and probably before the summer we will be in a position to announce part or all of these 80,000 vehicles - the sites, production and brands," Ghosn told reporters at Renault headquarters near Paris. "It's a matter of a few months at the most or even weeks."
In return for wage restraint and other union concessions including longer working hours, Renault promised to increase annual domestic production by about a third, or 180,000 vehicles, to 710,000 by 2016.
Renault plans to return production of its Trafic commercial van to northern France from Spain, and some versions of its Clio subcompact car to Flins, west of Paris, from Turkey.
Ghosn had previously threatened to move some production out of France if no deal was reached.
He said today that the deal's success will depend partly on winning back customers for Renault's own brand in a European market near its weakest in 20 years. "A part of this increase must come from the growth of Renault's market share in Europe," Ghosn said.
Renault also promised under the deal not to close any production sites or resort to compulsory lay-offs within the next three years. It plans to cut some 7,500 domestic jobs over the same period through attrition.
The agreement will generate annual savings of about 500 million euros ($651 million), Ghosn said in a newspaper interview published earlier on Wednesday.Contact Automotive News