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Honda moves to slash output

HONDA Motor Co is offering voluntary buyouts, cutting workers' pay and imposing 13 non-production days at its North American plants to reduce its output this summer by 62,000 vehicles.

Honda spokesman Ron Lietzke said on Tuesday that the buyouts will be offered at most of the Japanese auto maker's facilities in North America, where it employs 35,600 people. Sweetened retirement packages are also being offered, he said.

Overall compensation will be reduced for its North American employees, with top executives experiencing the biggest cuts, Lietzke said. He would not say how much salaries would be reduced.

Bonuses will be greatly reduced or eliminated, but pay rates for production and hourly workers will not be affected, Lietzke said.

"There is a continuing need to reduce our inventory," Lietzke said. "Regardless of job title or level within our organization, each Honda associate will share the responsibility of doing what we must do to remain competitive."

Spread out

The company builds Honda Accords and Acura TLs and RDXs in Marysville, Ohio; Honda Civics and Elements at a factory in East Liberty, Ohio; and engines and other components in Anna, Ohio. The company also has a plant in Lincoln, Alabama, that makes the Odyssey minivan, Pilot sport utility vehicle and V-6 engines. It also builds transmissions in Tallapoosa, Georgia, and builds all-terrain vehicles, lawn mowers and other products in the United States.

Between May and July, the 13 non-production days will include up to two days a month on which employees can't go into work. They can choose to either cover that time with vacation or take no pay.

In Mexico, Honda will suspend production for 13 days between May and September at its plant in western Jalisco State, but doesn't plan reductions among the 1,800 workers at the facility, said company spokesman Javier Gonzalez. The plant produces the CR-V model and exports much of its production to the US.

The Tokyo-based auto maker has been cutting production aggressively in North America in recent months in an attempt to lower inventories of unsold cars.

In December, it said it was removing 119,000 vehicles from production for the fiscal year ended Tuesday and it cut production even further in January.

The auto maker's US sales fell by about a third for the first two months of the year.


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