Monday, February 9, 2009

French-Romanian car maker resumes production

Monday, February 9, 2009

BUCHAREST, Romania: French-Romanian carmaker Dacia resumed production on Monday after a series of halts, starting in December, were triggered by a sharp drop in sales amid the economic crisis.

After an initial monthlong closure, production was shut again on Jan. 26 at the factory owned by French Renault SA in Mioveni, some 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Bucharest.

In January, 2,000 employees held a rally demanding that the government protect jobs in the car industry. The factory employs about 14,000 people.

The French-Romanian company said Romanian car sales in November were half what they were a year earlier.

The factory will now make 1,085 cars a day, instead of 1,360 before the production halt.

Francois Fourmont, general director of Dacia Renault, has warned in the past that the company might make 3,000 workers redundant if sales do not increase.

Renault SA has invested Euro 1 billion ($1.28 billion) in Dacia since buying it in 1998.

The end of the production halt came as steelmaker Arcelor Mittal said it would close its factory in Hunedoara, in western Romania on Tuesday for at least another month due to a lack of demand for steel.

The factory, which empolys 1,200, was closed in November and December for the same reasons.

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