Nissan To Cut 1,680 Jobs In Spain

Japanese car manufacturer will lay off workers at Barcelona plant, which assembles 4x4 vehicles, because of poor demand.

MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Nissan Motor Co. is laying off 1,680 workers at one of its plants in Spain because of poor demand, a company official said Monday.

Fumiaki Matsumoto, the company's vice president in Spain, said the job cuts would occur at the Japanese carmaker's Barcelona factory, which assembles sport utility vehicles. Matsumoto said the layoffs will affect about 37 percent of Nissan's work force in Spain.

The remaining work force at the Barcelona site will work two instead of three shifts daily, Matsumoto said.

Matsumoto told a news conference in Barcelona that increased fuel costs, difficulty obtaining loans and new carbon dioxide limitations had all contributed to a downturn in the world's SUV market.

Last month, car sales in Spain fell 32 percent from a year earlier. Matsumoto said Nissan's production in Barcelona for 2009 is estimated at 110,000, down 83,000 vehicles from the 2007 figure.

Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Volkswagen AG all have announced job cuts in Spain in recent weeks.

Spain, Europe's best-performing economy over the last decade, has not yet fallen into recession as many observers had predicted.

However, growth has slowed more sharply than in other major European economies mainly because of the collapse of its key construction industry and tighter credit policies at banks.

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