Toyota to Halve Recruitment in 2009

Lowest level in 10 years

Toyota Motor Corp. said on March 19 it would almost halve its recruitment of full-time workers in Japan to the lowest level in about a decade as it braces for its first ever loss.

Toyota will take on about 1,400 full-time employees in the next fiscal year starting in April, down from a record 2,733 new recruits this year. "In order for us to survive, we must put our resources into the development of next-generation environmental technologies," said a company spokeswoman, who asked not to be named.

Toyota's plans will take recruitment levels back down to roughly the same level as nine years ago when Japan was slowly emerging from a decade of recession and economic stagnation.

Toyota ended General Motors' 77-year reign as the world's top-selling carmaker in 2008 following several years of strong growth thanks to brisk demand overseas, particularly in the U.S.

But it has been hit hard by a slump in exports and has slashed thousands of temporary jobs as it braces for an operating loss of 450 billion yen (US$4.7 billion) in the financial year ending this month.

Japan's domestic auto market is also in a slump, with new vehicle sales plunging 32.4% last month from a year earlier, the steepest decline for February since 1974, according to industry data.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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