..- Pessimism in the European car industry intensified on Friday after statements by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warning that Renault could go missing if help was not received soon and that a Japanese newspaper published that Nissan could cut its workforce by more than 20,000 employees, many of them in Europe.
Renault and Nissan have been in a car alliance for the past two decades and are due to announce an update to their strategy next Wednesday.
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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who is considering a € 5 billion ($ 5.5 billion) loan to Renault to help it overcome the crisis, warned on Friday that the future of the company was at stake.
“Yes, Renault could disappear,” he told Radio Europa 1.
Le Maire said that Renault’s French plant in Flins should not close and that the company should be able to hold as many jobs as possible in France, but also said it needs to adapt and be competitive.
Renault declined to comment on Le Maire’s words.
On the other hand, the Japanese news agency Kyodo said that Nissan could cut 20,000 jobs, mainly in Europe and in countries with emerging economies.
Two people with knowledge of the matter told . the number of cuts had not been finalized. Nissan, for its part, declined to comment.
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The Japanese automaker said in July last year that it would cut 12,500 jobs, nearly 10% of its 140,000-person workforce. Raising that figure to 20,000 would roughly match the number of jobs it cut during the 2009 global financial crisis.
Sources familiar with the process told . earlier this month that the leadership of Nissan had convinced itself that it needed to be much smaller and that it would likely cut a million cars from its annual sales target, while seeing a greater role for the United States and China in vehicle sales.
Sources consulted have also said they plan to scale back their European business to focus on sports and commercial vehicles, possibly including the closure of a plant in Barcelona, Spain, which employs around 3,000 people.