Tuesday, December 9, 2008

French-Romanian carmaker halts production again

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — French-Romanian carmaker Dacia has announced it will keep its factory in Romania closed for a month, cut production, and make layoffs due to a sharp drop in car sales, as the global economic crisis bites.

The shutdown from Dec. 11 to Jan. 11 comes after the company owned by French Renault SA stopped production for three weeks at the factory in Mioveni, some 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Bucharest.

On Monday, Dacia resumed production for three days before the second production halt.

Dacia's management said in a press release late Monday that it needs to take "anti-crisis measures" after the economic crisis led to a 50 percent drop in cars sales in Romania in November, compared with a year ago.

Dacia will invest euro150 million ($192 million) next year, instead of the euro250 million ($320 million) that it had planned. It will also lay off the 620 workers whose contracts expire at the end of December.

When production resumes in January, Dacia will make 1,085 cars a day, instead of 1,360.

Dacia also said its market shrank because of "the invasion of imported secondhand cars" and because of people's limited access to bank loans.

During the production halt, Dacia's 14,000 workers will get 85 percent of their salaries.

Renault SA has invested euro1 billion ($1.28 billion) in Dacia since buying it in 1998.

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