Renault is downplaying its decision to shut several factories next week, insisting it will use a forthcoming national holiday in France as a "non-working" day in a bid to reduce stock.

The French automaker says reports it is to put workers on short-time working are not the case, but maintains its move will see staff paid as normal during the period that sees a national holiday of All Saints on 1 November.

"There are some reports about short-time working - it is not that," a Renault spokeswoman told just-auto from France. "The Renault plants are closed for reasons of 'non-working days' system in order to realign the stock.

"The days we close in the plant are called non-working days - it might seem not important but the effect is people keep their salaries 100% which is not the case when you are in short-time working."

The move is in response to difficulties Renault had in the first half of the year with parts supply leading to delivery problems. The manufacturer subsequently increased production in the summer to secure its delivery schedule.

"This is nothing exceptional - we do that when there is the 'bridge' [French tradition of combining public holidays with weekends] on 1 November to align stocks," said the spokeswoman. "Most of the plants are closing on Sunday and Monday before the official holiday on 1 November"

Specifically, Renault will close its plant at Doaui from 26 October - 2 November, at Sandouville from 29 October - 2 November and at Flins from 29 October - 2 November. Factories at Maubeuge and Batilly will remain open.

The Renault spokeswoman declined to go into further detail concerning the temporary closures, pointing to the automaker's third quarter results due out tomorrow (27 October), but insisted the manufacturer was on track for a good year.

"Our order books are OK so we are not producing less," she said. "These days are really used to realign stock that was probably a bit high in the summer.

"We still confirm 2011 will be a record year compared to 2010 - we keep our objective."

Renault's decision comes after news today of PSA Peugeot Citroen's EUR800m (US$1.1bn) cost-cutting plan for next year, including up to 3,500 lay-offs amid a stagnating European car market.

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