In response to the global economic slowdown, Renault will cut 6,000 jobs, 4,000 of them in France, despite a recent rise in the firm's profits. The French firm, 15% of which is owned by the country's government, announced in July that its half-year profits were up by 37%. But that figure was still shy of Renault's sales targets, and it has now revised its goal for 2008 from 3.3m units to 3m.
The job cuts will be split between France (4,000 redundancies) and other sites in Western Europe. Renault is calling the process a 'voluntary departure plan' and it states that 3,000 of the losses will involve staff not directly linked to production. But 1,000 of the cuts will take place at the Sandouville plant that builds the recently launched Laguna.
The new Laguna has not been well received and has struggled to match the sales of the previous model, said industry analyst Jay Nagley, managing director of Spyder. At its peak in 2002, the Laguna sold 30,000 cars a year. By 2006/2007, at the the tail-end of its run, it was selling 7,500 cars annually. So far this year, Renault has sold only 4,700 of the new model.
French unions have already called strike action in reaction to the news of job cuts, and demanded that French president Nicolas Sarkozy should intervene in the matter.