Renault plans to idle 2,295 workers at its plant in Valladolid, Spain, for as many as 29 days in the first half of 2012 as the European economy slows.

The French automaker also announced it will suspend the night shift at its Palencia plant from the beginning of January, a measure which will affect 300 workers. “Fifteen of the lay-off days are due to a shift to new model production, while 14 days are because of the economic downturn,” Renault spokesman Jesus Presa was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. Car sales in Spain fell 20 percent in the first 10 months of 2011, the most of Europe’s top five auto markets, according the European automobile manufacturers association (ACEA).

On the lay-off days, Renault’s Valladolid plant will produce as few as 340 vehicles, compared with its usual rate of 460 cars, Presa also said. The spokesman declined to predict the effect on overall capacity, as the company may decide to shorten the production cut. The factory produces the Clio and Modus models and will soon start making the electric Twizy.

On the other hand, the Palencia plant, which produces the Renault Megane, will make as many as 100 vehicles less than its normal 1,040 cars each day. The employees laid off at Valladolid will receive between 65 percent and 70 percent of their salaries for the lay-off days.


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