Johannesburg - Vehicle manufacturer Nissan South Africa announced on Wednesday that it has begun a consultative process with a view to cutting back about a fifth of its employees.
"Approximately 220 indirect employees could be affected by this move," said Nissan spokesperson Pat Senne. That is out of total workforce of 1 600.
Senne said the move was necessary because of the negative trading climate, and to align the company "with the market".
The world's automotive industry is struggling amid slower economic conditions. Toyota cut bonuses for 8 700 senior managers in Japan, where it employs 69 000 people. It also forecast a 56% reduction in profits, according to Bloomberg News.
The prospect of retrenchments at Nissan comes only a day after the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers (Naamsa) announced a 28.31% annual decline in vehicle sales to over 34 000 units sold in November.
Senne said she didn't expect the first employee to leave Nissan until 60 days have passed, because SA labour relations laws require at least that long for consultative restructuring.
In Naamsa vehicle sales statistics, Nissan brands did not appear in the top 10 of passenger vehicle sales and only made a showing in the sixth and seventh slots of top performers in the light vehicle segment. The newly-introduced NP200 and Hardbody light commercial vehicles achieved a combined 1 478 sales in November.