PARIS, March 13 Renault will announce
plans within months to build more vehicles for Daimler
or alliance partner Nissan after reaching a
new deal with unions, the French carmaker said.
Under the agreement signed on Wednesday, Renault pledged to
produce 80,000 vehicles annually for the partner brands, helping
safeguard French jobs as demand for new cars slumps in Europe.
Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn conceded that the deal's
success will depend partly on winning back customers for
Renault's own brand in a market near its weakest in 20 years.
"A part of this increase must come from the growth of
Renault's market share in Europe," Ghosn said.
In return for wage restraint and other union concessions
including longer working hours, Renault promised to increase
annual domestic production by about a third, or 180,000
vehicles, to 710,000 by 2016.
Ghosn, who had previously threatened to move some production
out of France if no deal was reached, said some manufacturing
could now be repatriated as a result of the agreement.
Renault plans to return production of its Trafic commercial
van to northern France from Spain, and some versions of its Clio
subcompact car to Flins, west of Paris, from Turkey.
Ghosn declined to comment on recent press reports that
Renault had dropped plans for an upscale model derived from the
Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and that Daimler was planning to assemble
A- and B-Class models at its French partner's plants.
"By the end of 2013 and probably before the summer we will
be in a position to announce part or all of these 80,000
vehicles - the sites, production and brands," he told reporters
at Renault headquarters near Paris.
"It's a matter of a few months at the most or even weeks."
Renault won agreement on the new deal last week from unions
representing almost two thirds of its workforce and signed the
accord on Wednesday with representatives of the CFDT, FO and CGC
labour groupings. The left-wing CGT has refused to accept the
Renault also promised under the deal not to close any
production sites or resort to lay-offs within the next three
years. It plans to cut some 7,500 domestic jobs over the same
period, without compulsory redundancies.
The accord represents a "necessary balance to improve
competitiveness and safeguard the future of France's industrial
fabric", CFDT spokesman Fred Dijoux said after the formal
The agreement will generate annual savings of about 500
million euros ($651 million), Ghosn said in a newspaper
interview published earlier on Wednesday.
Renault shares were down 1.5 percent at 53.34 euros at 1139
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)