A unit ofMotor Corp. reportedly has laid off workers at a plant in Kyushu, Japan, which makes hybrid-electric vehicle versions of the Lexus RX and Toyota Highlander cross/utility vehicles for the U.S. market.
Some 800 temporary employees, 10% ofMotor Kyushu Inc.’s total workforce, were laid off in June and August due to the slumping U.S. new-vehicle market, reports say.
The Kyushu subsidiary also builds non-HEV versions of the RX and Highlander, as well as the Lexus IS and ES models, for shipment to the U.S.
A spokesperson for the plant tells Dow Jones Newswires the auto maker will rehire 500 of the workers in the fall.
It reportedly is the largest employment reduction at the plant since it opened in 1992.
The action follows a Toyota decision last month to suspend production for three months at its San Antonio, TX, truck plant.
Toyota already has eliminated all of its temporary U.S. assembly line workers, company spokesman Mike Goss told Ward’s.
Toyota’s U.S. sales have been down or flat for 13 consecutive months, Ward’s data shows, falling 18.7% in July.