Honda, Nissan furlough US workers amid coronavirus spread

Honda, Nissan furlough US workers amid coronavirus spread
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Honda and Nissan announced on Tuesday furloughs of thousands of U.S. workers, citing a lack of demand for cars as the coronavirus outbreak grows in the country.

Honda plans to guarantee salaries for workers until Sunday, Reuters reported, citing a company spokeswoman. The company, which employs about 18,400 workers in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio, has suspended operations from March 23 and will keep its plants closed until May 1, according the news agency. 

"We have approximately 14,400 production associates who are impacted by this announcement in plants around the U.S. including Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina," a spokesman for Honda said.

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Meanwhile, Nissan announced temporary layoffs for nearly 10,000 U.S. hourly workers starting on April 6, according to Reuters. The company has suspended operations at its U.S. plants until late April.

A Nissan spokesman confirmed the temporary layoffs, adding that "affected employees will be eligible to apply for government support such as enhanced unemployment benefits."

The moves come as the U.S., the world's second-biggest car market, has witnessed steep drops in auto sales, according to the report.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Toyota have also announced temporary plant closures, according to Reuters.

Some states have blocked dealers from selling new vehicles while local governments enforce stay-at-home orders.