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Renault COO says French carmaker considering complete factory closures

FRANKFURT--French carmaker Renault is considering the complete closure of factories because of the dire state of the European automobile market, the company's chief operating officer (COO) was quoted as saying on Sunday.

“We will see. We are currently talking to the unions and explaining to them how big the gaps are in our competitiveness,” Carlos Tavares told German trade newspaper Automobilwoche.

“We have a competitiveness problem in western Europe and France.”

The European market's prolonged decline is even starting to make previously impervious car makers, such as Volkswagen , feel vulnerable. “We're bracing for more negative surprises in 2013, perhaps also in 2014,” Christian Klingler, VW's sales chief, said at the Paris auto show last week.

Tavares pointed out that Renault's cooperation with Nissan had given the company hard data on productivity levels at Nissan factories in Sunderland in Britain and Barcelona in Spain.

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