Swedish airbag and seatbelt world leader Autoliv is to shut four plants in France, Germany, Mexico and Tunisia with the loss of at least 820 jobs.

The closures are part of a restructuring as the company battles the financial crisis and falling orders as vehicle production slows globally.

It said in a statement that its seatbelt assembly plant in Tunisia would be closed and most of the production transferred to Autoliv Turkey, leading to some 650 job losses. In Mexico, it has begun transferring its steering wheel assembly operations from its Queretaro location to a recently acquired facility in Matamoros. Employees are being offered transfers to other Autoliv plants in Mexico.

Another plant to close in the steel stamping facility in France acquired at the the beginning of this year from distressed supplier NPC in order to secure deliveries. This will close early next year with the loss of 140 jobs.

A further 30 workers will go in Germany as the company closes its steering wheel logistics centre there.

Autoliv chief executive Jan Carlson said: "In the highly competitive automotive industry we have to continuously improve our competitiveness and adapt the capacity to the actual demand."

In October the company reported a net profit of US$39.2m for the third quarter after three successive loss-making quarters.

Autoliv has already cut its workforce from 41,300 to 36,200 in the past year.