Renault to lay off 4,000 workers

Predictions of a slump in sales due to the current economic downturn has led French carmaker Renault to announce plans to axe 4,000 jobs.

Unions have protested against the move - even appealing for intervention from President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Renault submitted a document to union leaders saying it is having difficulty meeting operating margin targets this year.

The document said the cutbacks are necessary to meet productivity targets to keep the company competitive "in a worsening economic environment" and to avoid falling victim to consolidation in the car market.

The French carmaker will freeze hiring. It foresees cutting most of the 4,000 jobs through voluntary departures and natural wastage. The CGT union appealed to Mr Sarkozy to intervene because the state owns 15.01% of Renault.

In July, Renault reported a 37% increase in six-month net profit but said it was falling behind sales targets.

The car maker said it now expects to sell more than three million vehicles under its Renault, Dacia and Renault Samsung brands this year compared with the 3.3 million goal first expected as part of its four-year turnaround plan launched in 2006.

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