Renault plans to cut 2,000 jobs in France as it shifts to electric cars

The company is in talks with French unions to cut 1,600 engineering and 400 support positions between 2022 and 2024.
The company is in talks with French unions to cut 1,600 engineering and 400 support positions between 2022 and 2024.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (BLOOMBERG) - Renault plans to eliminate 2,000 more jobs while still making nine new models in France as the struggling automaker reshapes operations in its home country and shifts to electric vehicles (EVs).

The company is in talks with French unions to cut 1,600 engineering and 400 support positions between next year and 2024, according to a statement on Thursday (Sept 16). During the same period, it will recruit 2,500 people, including in data science and battery chemistry.

With the French state looming as Renault's largest shareholder, chief executive Luca de Meo has a fine line to walk in his effort to turn the company around. The carmaker announced last year it would eliminate about 14,600 jobs worldwide - including 4,600 in France - and lower production capacity by almost a fifth.

While Renault plans to add to that tally, it also intends to make nine new vehicles at home by around 2025, most of which will be EVs slated for a hub in northern France. These include the new Megane, Renault 5 and Kangoo, as well as a sports utility vehicle and another car it did not elaborate on.

The manufacturing plans depend on reaching agreement with unions. In a nod to the pressure it is under to keep jobs at home, Renault called France a "strategic and industrial centre".

While the automaker swung to profit in the first half from a record loss last year, semiconductor shortages have disrupted output in recent months and led to factory shutdowns. Renault has lagged rivals Volkswagen and Stellantis in recovering from the coronavirus pandemic because of its reliance on the European market, which has revived more slowly than China or the United States.