Toyota mulls 1,000 full-time cuts

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. is considering cutting more than 1,000 full-time jobs in North America and the United Kingdom to cope with faltering global demand, a news report said Friday.

The details of the job cuts will probably be finalized by the end of the month, said the Nikkei, Japan's top business daily, citing an unnamed senior company official. Japan's top automaker could slash more jobs in other regions if global auto sales continue to slump, the daily said.

Toyota spokesman Yuta Kaga declined to confirm the report, saying nothing had been decided.

Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota's North American manufacturing operations, said that Toyota is considering "additional steps" after making several production adjustments in recent months, but that no decisions have been finalized.

"Current business conditions are not forcing us to make involuntary reductions of Toyota team members," he said in a written statement. "Our goal is to operate in a manner that maintains the long-term viability of our company and employment security of Toyota team members."

North American executives announced earlier this month that assembly lines would be idled on some days in February and March, as Toyota hopes to cut its inventory. It had already idled lines several days in December and January.

And it has also cut temporary workers both in the United States and elsewhere. At its flagship North American plant in Georgetown, executives said last November that more than half the 500 temporary workers on the assembly line would be cut during this quarter.

Hit by the collapse in demand for cars, Toyota is expecting to incur its first operating loss in 70 years. The company on Tuesday tapped Akio Toyoda, grandson of the Japanese automaker's founder, as president, paying homage to its roots amid a deepening global downturn.

The U.S.-educated Toyoda, 52, is the first founding family member to take the helm at the Japanese auto giant in 14 years.

If Toyota resorts to cutting full-time staff, it will be the first time since 1950, when the automaker reduced 1,600 full-time jobs in Japan, the Nikkei said.

Toyota, which runs seven auto plants in North America, employs 36,000 full-time workers in the region. The company has about 5,000 full-time staff in the United Kingdom, Kaga said.

Toyota employs 316,000 full-time workers globally, including nearly 70,000 in Japan.

Toyota has been booming in recent years, but it has been hammered by the global downturn. The U.S. financial crisis sent auto demand plunging last year in the key North American market.