Toyota Australia to lay off 350

Jan. 23, 2012 at 6:56 PM

MELBOURNE, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Toyota Motors in Australia said Monday it was laying off 350 workers due to declining sales, the Japanese automaker's top executive in Australia said.

"Toyota Australia is facing severe operating conditions resulting in unsustainable financial returns due to factors including the strong Australian currency, reduced cost competitiveness and volume decline, especially in export markets," Toyota Australia President and Chief Executive Officer Max Yasuda said.

Yasuda said a decline in production the company considered temporary had become permanent, The Australian reported.

"The reality is that our volumes are down. What we assumed was a temporary circumstance has turned into a permanent situation. This drop of 36 percent in just four years shows the scale of our challenges," he said.

Production has dropped from 149,000 vehicles in 2007 to 94,000 in 2011, he said.

This year, Toyota Australia expects to make 95,000 vehicles.

The plant employs 3,350 workers, The Australian said.

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