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Automobiles

Honda halts US output as auto factory stoppages widen

Six-day shutdown also spans Canada and Mexico

NEW YORK -- Honda Motor will suspend production at all North American auto assembly plants for six days, starting March 23, in response to the new coronavirus.

Engine and transmission production in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will halt for the same period, the Japanese automaker said Wednesday.

Honda becomes the first major global car company to stop all its U.S. auto factories as a result of the pandemic. The move shows auto production stoppages in Europe spreading across the Atlantic Ocean to North America.

"Honda is continuing to manage its business carefully through a measured approach to sales that aligns production with market demand," the company said in its announcement.

The decision affects a total of seven auto assembly plants in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Mexico and Canada, plus five powertrain plants. Output will fall by about 40,000 vehicles.

The 27,000-plus affected workers will continue to receive full pay, according to the company. Production is set to resume March 31 under current plans.

Honda has also halted auto and motorcycle factories in Malaysia until March 31 and stopped production in Philippines until mid-April. Dealerships have also been closed for business.

Both moves followed calls from the Southeast Asian countries' governments to restrict activity in response to the coronavirus.

Honda has an annual output capacity of about 100,000 autos in Malaysia.

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