The credit crunch has become a car crunch. In the face of dramatically falling demand, Renault has started temporary closures of up to two weeks at all of its nine factories in France and some of its overseas plants. Peugeot-Citroen is also planned to slash production by 30 percent.
Renault workers are fearful for the future. One of them, Philippe Gommard, said: “For the moment we’re still being paid, but that could change in the next few weeks, because there are other closure days for the factory which have announced.”
At a Renault plant in Spain, union shop steward Jorge Garcia said the temporary shutdowns are increasing: “Last week, 90 percent of us were working. Now it’s just 250 out of 1,200 and the rest are just taking time off.”
Peugeot Citroen is also making major production cuts. Its chief executive Christian Streiff said that is in response to the “collapse” in the European car market and to avoid having a surplus of vehicles with no customers for them.