France warns Renault could disappear; Nissan plans job cuts

PARIS/TOKYO (Reuters) – Europe’s car industry was put on alert for more job losses on Friday as a French minister 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 (RENA.PA) and Nissan (7201.T) 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 5 billion euro ($5.5 billion) loan for Renault to help it through the crisis, warned on Friday the company’s future was at stake.

“Yes, Renault could disappear,” he told Europe 1 radio.

Le Maire said Renault’s French plant in Flins 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.

Renault declined to comment on Le Maire’s remarks.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Renault carmaker is pictured at a dealership in Les Sorinieres, near Nantes, France, February 19, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

The Flins factory, northwest of Paris, is where Renault makes its electric Zoe models and the Micra car for Nissan. It employed

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