Toyota Motor Engineering & Mfg. North America Inc. says it will slice more days from its production schedule in December and January, as its U.S. sales continue to slump in light of the country’s economic recession.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. says it will halt production for the remainder of this week at its Sunderland, U.K., plant. The facility, which builds the Qashqai cross/utility vehicle, already is scheduled for downtime starting Dec. 23.

And Mitsubishi Motors Corp. says its Normal, IL, plant will be down for seven weeks in 2009 to control inventory. The Feb. 16-April 3 shutdown is the longest in the plant’s 20-year history, Reuters says. Workers at the plant will engage in training activities or perform maintenance duties, a company spokesman says.

Toyota last month said it would halt builds Dec. 22-23 at all its North American plants, with the exception of its Tijuana, Mexico, Tacoma midsize-pickup facility. It now is adding nine additional days to its Georgetown, KY, plant’s downtime and six extra days at its Princeton, IN, facility.

TEMA spokesman Mike Goss says Toyota also is evaluating whether it will begin production as planned of the 4-cyl. Venza CUV in Georgetown in January.

Meanwhile, the auto maker’s Fremont, CA, joint-venture plant with General Motors Corp. will slice 10 build days for Corolla and Tacoma. Toyota last month said it planned to eliminate the second shift of Tacoma production at Fremont in January.

Furthermore, Goss says Toyota’s newly opened Woodstock, ON, Canada, plant, will be down Jan. 5-9, in addition to the previously announced December 22-23 stoppage.

At the nearby Cambridge, ON, plant, the line building the Lexus RX now will be down Jan. 5-9 and the Corolla and Matrix compact car line will halt Dec. 18, 19, Jan. 5-9 and Jan. 16, 23 and 30, Goss says.

Downtime of the RX line should not affect the launch of the next-generation model, which goes into production Jan. 16 and is scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in February, he says.

Workers at Toyota’s Georgetown plant will take mandatory vacation time Jan. 5, 6 and 19, while workers in Cambridge will use mandatory vacation time Jan. 5-9.

“All other days, (workers) have the option of using vacation (time) or coming to work for training, or (they) can take unpaid time off, which is the way we’ve handled it so far this year,” Goss says of earlier production halts.

Toyota’s engine and transmission plants in the U.S. likely will see downtime as well, but Goss says each location still is making calculations.

Toyota’s sales in the U.S. fell 33.9% in November, Ward’s data shows.

The auto maker last week took steps in Japan to cut production due to the U.S. sales slump, eliminating two days of builds at plants making Lexus luxury models.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com