Daimler to Close Plants in Japan, Thailand

Loss of 2,300 jobs

Daimler said on May 13 it was closing a bus factory in Japan and a truck plant in Thailand in a revamp of its Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus (MFTBC) unit, resulting in the loss of 2,300 jobs.

The restructuring, which will also include other cost-cutting measures, will result in MFTBC's workforce being reduced by 2,000 people employed indirectly and 300 employed directly.

In Japan, the firm said it would shut its Oye plant near Nagoya and move bus production to its Toyama site by mid-2010, while in Thailand the Lardkrabang truck factory near Bangkok will cease operations by the end of 2009.

Daimler said it will also "optimize operations" at the main Kawasaki plant in Japan, concentrating assembly into one part of the plant and improving logistics and overall efficiency.

Outside Asia, it said it would increase production at its Tramagal plant in Portugal, including boosting the production of some of its new light-duty trucks.

"Japan remains MFTBC's most important market, but the Japanese commercial vehicle market is experiencing a long-term downward trend with growth potential shifting to developing economies," it said.

"The realignment is intended to address these trends and strengthen the company's operations for the mid- to long-term. Additional short-term actions are already implemented to address the ongoing global economic crisis."

MFTBC is 85% owned by Daimler and 15% by Mitsubishi.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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