Suzuki to Lay Off 1,200 at Hungarian Plant

Company has already reduced production at plant

Suzuki announced on Nov. 28 that it would lay off 1,200 people, or almost a fifth of its workforce, at its plant in Esztergom, northwest of Budapest. "Starting December 8, Suzuki Hungary will switch to manufacturing in two shifts," instead of the current three, said company spokeswoman Viktoria Ruska.

The downsizing at the plant, which currently employs 5,523, was due to a radical fall in orders, she added. The job cuts, which will take effect on December 8, will concern manufacturers as well as office staff.

Earlier, Suzuki reduced modified its manufacturing plans for 2008 to 282,000 vehicles from 300,000. In 2009, the company expects 210,000 new cars to roll off production lines at Esztergom, 40 miles northwest from Budapest.

Suzuki, which has been present in Hungary since 1991, has invested 280 billion forint in its plant there and supplied European markets with over 1.5 million Hungarian-made Suzukis.

The government expects the Hungarian economy, which is heavily export-oriented, to contract by as much as 1% next year as the country feels the full force of the global downturn. According to government estimate, some 70,000 people may lose their jobs as a result of the global financial crisis.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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