Argentine Automakers Suspend Staff As Sales Plummet

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Argentine automakers are suspending production and laying off factory workers as sales plunge due to a gathering storm of economic trouble.

Most Argentine cars are exported to Brazil, where sales are down in a slowing economy. Meanwhile, the 23 percent peso devaluation this year puts cars with foreign parts out of reach for many Argentines. New taxes have made most cars even more expensive and there's less credit available due to Argentine banking rules.

Union chief Antonio Calo said Wednesday that he's counting on trade talks between Brazil and Argentina will protect the industry after Peugeot-Citroën announced suspensions of 1,000 workers and Fiat's truck-making subsidiary Iveco said it is suspending about 700.

Union leaders say Argentina's General Motors factory may be next.

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