Europe’s car industry has been put on alert for more job losses as the French government warned Renault could disappear if it didn’t get help soon and a Japanese news report said partner Nissan was considering 20,000 layoffs, with many in Europe.
Renault and Nissan have been in a carmaking alliance for the past two decades and are due to announce a strategy update next Wednesday.
The plan was originally billed as a reset of their relationship, which was rocked by the November 2018 arrest in Japan of the alliance’s architect and long-time boss Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial misconduct, which he denies.
However, the update has taken on greater significance since the coronavirus pandemic hammered demand for vehicles and threw production into disarray.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire, who is considering a €5bn loan for Renault to help it through the crisis, warned the company’s future was at stake.
Mr Le Maire said Renault’s French plant in Flins, near Paris where it makes the Micra and Zoe models, mustn’t close and the company should be able to keep as many jobs as possible in France, but also said it needed to adapt and be competitive.
The company has 40 plants and 13 logistics sites in 16 countries.