* Minister says Nissan should help French factories
* Renault says no decision taken
By Nicholas Vinocur
PARIS, Jan 18 Renault Chief Executive
Carlos Ghosn has agreed to build cars in France for alliance
partner Nissan, French Industry Minister Arnaud
Montebourg said on Friday.
Montebourg said in an interview with RMC radio that he had
spoken to Ghosn, who heads both carmakers, after Renault told
unions it planned to cut 7,500 domestic jobs over four years.
"Since you are also the head of Nissan, and Renault controls
Nissan, Nissan should come to the aid of French factories and
bring work to French production lines," Montebourg said he told
Asked whether French Renault plants would build Nissan
models, the minister responded: "That is what I asked ... The
answer was 'yes'."
But Renault, which is 15 percent government-owned and holds
43.4 percent of Nissan, said it had not yet committed to
building models in France for its Japanese partner.
"The decision is not taken as of today," Renault sales chief
Jerome Stoll told reporters when asked about Montebourg's
Renault is demanding a longer work-week and other
concessions in talks with French unions and has dangled the
possibility of Nissan and Daimler production to keep
domestic plants running.
Announcing the planned job cuts earlier this week, Renault
said it hoped about three-quarters of the staff reduction could
be made through normal turnover.
Montebourg, who criticised competitor PSA Peugeot Citroen's
plans to cut 8,000 jobs and close a plant, has said
Renault's restructuring plans are acceptable because they
include no compulsory redundancies.
Automakers across Europe are having to slash costs and
capacity to stem losses, as the euro zone debt crisis and
government austerity plans sap car demand. European car sales
were close to a 20-year low in 2012.
In its union negotiations, Renault is pushing workers to
accept a new nationwide deal on pay and conditions to align
productivity with cheaper European sites such as its Palencia
plant in Spain and Nissan's Sunderland factory in England.
(Additional reporting by Chine Labbe and Gilles Guillaume;
Editing by James Regan)