Renault Plant to Close Until January 1

French automaker Renault said Friday that it would stop the assembly line at its Moscow plant for two weeks in December as demand weakens.

"It was the only reasonable decision. We saw a drop-off in October, then again in November, and by our forecasts it will continue through December," said Renault Russia spokeswoman Olga Sergeyeva, adding that the measure would help avoid layoffs.

Production will cease from Dec. 12 to Dec. 31 at the Moscow plant, which produces the Logan, the best-selling foreign sedan in Russia.

Taking into account the country's New Year's public holiday from Jan. 1 to Jan. 10, the line, which produces 330 cars per day, will be idle for almost a month.

This would be the first time a foreign carmaker in Russia has halted local production because of the crisis.

Last month, GAZ Group said production could decline by 30 percent compared with 2007 as the market for auto loans dries up, cutting demand for cars.