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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

ZiL Plans Restructuring, Job Cuts

Russian truckmaker AMO ZiL, which also builds sleek black limousines for state officials, must cut jobs this year as part of a major restructuring campaign, company officials said Friday.

Deputy Chief Engineer Vladimir Nosov said last year's output of 18,000 vehicles was less than 10 percent of maximum capacity. The plant, which celebrated its 80th anniversary Friday, must restructure to survive.

"Today ZiL turns 80, so we have to think about the future. We will continue the tough restructuring begun last year," Nosov said.

But Nosov denied Russian news agency reports that as many as 10,000 jobs would be cut.

"We are trying to make the process less painful and offer employees retraining for other professions, but some personnel cuts are inevitable," he said.

Nosov said maximum capacity was 200,000 trucks, but 1996 output would be little changed from last year's levels.

He said ZiL still faced good demand for the long, angular limousines that were favored means of transport for top-ranking Soviet era officials. ZiL produced 25 to 30 limousines last year and plans to make at least as many this year, he said.

"Prestigious ZiL limousines have already become Russia's hallmark," Nosov said. "President [Boris] Yeltsin uses different cars, including a Mercedes, but when he visits a foreign country, ZiL limousines often accompany him.

"It makes no difference to us who orders the limousine -- just be ready to pay $250,000 for it."

Named after Stalin-era official Ivan Likhachev, ZiL has faced tough times since the Soviet Union fell apart. It has been hit hard by the low purchasing capacity of its traditional clients, the Defense Ministry and agriculture.

Company officials say ZiL is owed hundreds of billions of rubles and is closing entire departments at its Moscow plant.