TOKYO (AP) -- Honda Motor Co. will cut the number of new graduates it hires next year by 40 percent amid a prolonged slump in the global auto market, it said Thursday.
The paring back of the company's hiring plans was due to uncertainty over the global auto market amid a deepening economic downturn at home and abroad, a company spokeswoman said.
Japan's no. 2 automaker will hire 890 graduates for the fiscal year starting in April 2010 compared with the 1,490 graduates the company has committed to hiring for the upcoming fiscal year.
Some 70 percent of the new hires are college graduates with the rest recruited from high schools and junior colleges. They fill a variety of jobs from engineers to clerical workers to junior managers, Honda said. It hired 1,332 graduates in the current fiscal year.
Faced with a plunge in auto demand and a rising yen, which cuts overseas profits of Japanese exporters, Honda has said it will reduce its domestic temporary work force of 4,300 to zero by the end of April.
The maker of the popular Accord and Civic models also offered an early retirement package for workers at its British factory. The number of workers to be reduced has not been disclosed, but Honda said the U.K. plant employs about 4,500 people.
Honda's full-time global work force stands at 185,000, including 27,000 workers in Japan.
In January, Honda slashed its annual profit target by over half to 80 billion yen ($888.4 million) from 185 billion yen.
Honda's rival, Nissan Motor Co., will hire several dozen new graduates in fiscal 2010, sharply down from 582 in the upcoming fiscal year from April, Kyodo news agency said. A company spokeswoman declined to confirm the report.
Nissan said Monday it will cut 20,000 jobs worldwide, or 8.5 percent of its 235,000-strong global work force, by March 2010.
Japan's No. 3 auto maker said it will likely incur a net loss of 265 billion yen in the current fiscal year through March, joining a raft of other Japanese corporate giants in slashing jobs and projecting annual losses.
It would mark Nissan's first annual loss in nine years.