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Automobiles

Mitsubishi Motors looks to cut jobs in Thailand

Japanese automaker expects sales slump to persist beyond lockdown

Mitsubishi Motors shows off the Thai-made Attrage in November(Photo by Yohei Muramatsu)

BANGKOK -- Mitsubishi Motors aims to trim its workforce in Thailand as the automaker reduces output in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mitsubishi Motors informed plant workers of the early retirement offer on May 7, it was revealed Wednesday. The company has offered severance packages equivalent to eight to 35 months of wages, depending on employee age and seniority.

No numerical goal for job cuts has been set by the company, which last month sought 300 billion yen ($2.8 billion) in financing from banks as a buffer against a sales slump.

Mitsubishi makes roughly 400,000 vehicles a year in Thailand, putting it behind only Toyota Motor in terms of output, and its move will be closely watched as a possible precedent for other automakers in the Southeast Asian country.

Mitsubishi exports vehicles to over 100 nations from Thailand. But sales in the country dropped around 30% on the year in the first quarter of 2020 to about 17,000 vehicles. In March, when the country declared a state of emergency, sales plummeted about 50%.

Mitsubishi idled production in April, with plans to resume Monday after the government eased restrictions on business activity. But the company anticipates the sales slump persisting due to consumers' weakened purchasing power.

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