Renault is cutting 15,000 jobs worldwide as part of a €2bn (£1.8bn) cost-cutting plan after seeing sales plunge because of the virus pandemic.
“This plan is essential,” said interim boss Clotilde Delbos, who announced cuts in production to focus on more profitable car models.
Some 4,600 job cuts will be in France, and the firm said on Friday that it had begun talks with unions.
On Thursday, Renault’s strategic partner Nissan unveiled huge job cuts.
Renault, 15% owned by the French state, said six sites are under review.
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The company is slashing costs by cutting the number of subcontractors in areas such as engineering, reducing the number of components it uses, freezing expansion plans in Romania and Morocco and shrinking gearbox manufacturing worldwide.
The French firm plans to trim its global production capacity to 3.3 million vehicles in 2024 from 4 million now, focusing on areas like small vans or electric cars.
Renault is part of a three-way alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi. On Thursday, Nissan said it would close its factory in Barcelona with the loss of about 2,800 jobs in a bid to cut costs, prompting protests at the Spanish plant.
Cost-cutting measures announced by both Renault and Nissan mark a departure from the ambitious expansion plan devised by now-ousted leader of the alliance, Carlos Ghosn.
Renault’s interim chief executive Ms Delbos said during a press conference on Friday: “We have to change our mindset.
“We’re not looking to be on top of the world, what we want is a sustainable and profitable company.”
Renault, which claims more than 4% of the global car market, said its plans would affect about 10% of its 179,000-strong global workforce and cost up to €1.2bn (£1.1bn).
Ms Delbos added that Renault would review each region in order to decide where job cuts will fall. “This will help us come back to our ideal size,” she said.
Both Nissan and Renault were already facing falling sales before the Covid-19 outbreak worsened trading.
Renault’s sales were down 3% last year and the number of vehicles sold in the first three months of 2020 fell by 25%, before dropping further in April.
The struggling firm is currently in talks with the French government over a €5bn emergency loan package.
The French government has also pledged €8bn in wider rescue funds aimed at shoring up the country’s car industry. In exchange, President Emmanuel Macron had said Renault should keep workers and production in the country.