Renault's South Korean Unit Cuts Workforce by 15%

In the seven months to July, Renault Samsung's sales fell 34% from a year earlier to 93,919 vehicles. 

The struggling South Korean unit of French auto giant Renault (IW 1000/78) said Monday it had managed to reduce its workforce by 15% through a voluntary retirement scheme aimed at cutting costs.

Renault Samsung Motors said about 800 of its 5,500 employees would leave the company by Friday after receiving compensation of up to two years of salary depending on their years of service.

Employees who took up the offer will also have their children's school fees paid for two years, along with other benefits.

"The program is now completed, and our company is not planning additional job cuts," a company spokeswoman said. The company started offering the voluntary retirement package last month as sluggish sales continued to squeeze its margins.

In the seven months to July, Renault Samsung's sales fell 34% from a year earlier to 93,919 vehicles. Analysts cited a lack of new models and stiff competition from South Korea's dominant Hyundai-Kia group.

Renault Samsung has been shutting down its only plant in the southern port of Busan for several days a month since December. The factory has an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles.

In July the Renault-Nissan Alliance promised to invest $160 million to roll out Nissan models at the Busan plant from 2014.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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