PARIS, BERLIN (Dispatches) — French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that Renault could go out of business if it does not get help very soon to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, while adding that the automaker also needed to adapt to the situation.
In an interview on Europe 1 radio on Friday, Le Maire also said that Renault’s plant in Flins outside of Paris must not close and that automaker should try to keep as many jobs as possible in France, but should also remain competitive.
"Yes, Renault could disappear,” Le Maire. Renault is due to present details of a cost-cutting plan to save 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in expenses in the next two years. First-quarter revenue fell 19 percent to 10.1 billion euros, with sales in Europe falling 36 percent as the effects of coronavirus lockdowns started to be felt.
Le Maire added that Renault Group Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard was working hard on the new strategy plan, and that Senard had the support of the French government.
Meanwhile, talks over a 9-billion euro government bailout for German flagship carrier Lufthansa have stalled over a row on how to deal with the airline’s ordered Airbus jets, German business daily Handelsblatt reported on Friday.
The German government is demanding Lufthansa accept all orders with Airbus, making the airline’s recovery practically impossible, Handelsblatt cited sources as saying.
The ailing carrier would have to pay more than 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in the coming three to four years for the planes, the paper said, adding that a Lufthansa supervisory board meeting had been postponed to Monday.