Original source: Japanese carmaker Toyota announced on Wednesday that it plans to suspend domestic output in April, a day after US corporation General Motors revealed that it is to slash 47,000 jobs worldwide.

The latest cuts and streamlining reflect the increasingly bleak outlook for the car industry as global demand continues to shrink.

Industry-wide sales dropped by over 20 per cent in the US, Europe and Japan last month.

A Toyota spokesman said that the firm will halt production at 11 of its 12 plants in Japan for three days in April, reducing total operating time during that month to 17 days.

Toyota’s latest production cutback follows its decision last week to offer job buyouts to all 25,000 of its US staff and to cut the working week by 10 per cent at some US factories in a bid to bring output levels down.

On Tuesday, the two biggest US car manufacturers, General Motors and Chrysler, announced that they will slash 50,000 jobs and approached the Obama administration to bail them out with loans amounting to $21.6 billion (£15bn).

The two companies have already received $17.4 billion (£12bn) in treasury loans.

General Motors boss Rick Wagnor insisted that he needs another $16.6 billion (£11.6bn), in addition to the $13.4 billion (£9.4bn) that he has already received.

Mr Wagnor also announced the imminent closure of at least five GM plants and nearly a quarter of its 6,200 dealerships.

The firm has been battling with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union over the cuts.

UAW said that a tentative deal had been agreed with all of the ‘big three’ US carmakers – GM, Chrysler and Ford.

But discussions are still under way on how the companies will fund union-run trust funds that will take over the companies’ health-care obligations.

GM is also seeking to sell off three of its brands – Saab, Hummer and Saturn.

The corporation said that Saab, which is based in Sweden, could go bust within 10 days without an immediate injection of state aid.

Bosses said that Saab was losing so much money so quickly that, without government intervention to secure its future, the subsidiary could be forced to file for reorganisation by the end of this month.

‘Given the urgency of stemming sizeable cash demands associated with Saab operations, GM is requesting Swedish government support prior to any sale,’ the Detroit-based group said.

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