Peugeot trims 5,700 French jobs, surpassing target image

PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe’s second-biggest carmaker, has eliminated 5,700 French jobs, outstripping a target of 3,550 voluntary departures announced last year.

A total of 1,700 workers have left Peugeot’s factory in Rennes, western France, where the manufacturer targeted 850 buyouts as it closed an assembly line last year, spokesman Pierre-Olivier Salmon said today by phone.

Paris-based Peugeot is cutting costs as it seeks to narrow the five-percentage point gap in profit margin with rivals such as Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, based on 2008 earnings. Chief Executive Officer Philippe Varin pledged Nov. 12 to find savings worth 3.3 billion euros ($4.7 billion) by 2012, of which more than half will come from spending cuts as the global workforce shrinks by 10 percent and plants are scaled back without compulsory layoffs.

Peugeot fell 15 cents, or 0.6 percent, to 25.81 euros at the close of trading in Paris. The shares have almost doubled in the past 12 months, giving the carmaker a market value of 6 billion euros.
The French voluntary-departure offer remains open to workers at the site until March 31, Salmon said. About 4,000 jobs have been eliminated among the rest of Peugeot’s French workforce, which stood at 104,465 employees as of June 30, representing 55 percent of the global staff.
The workforce reduction was reported earlier by Agence France-Presse.