Honda furloughs U.S. workers until May 1 as coronavirus suspends operations

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FILE PHOTO: Honda Motor Co’s Acura NSX luxury sports cars are seen in assemble line at the company’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, U.S., November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Maki Shiraki

TOKYO (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co (7267.T) on Tuesday said that it had furloughed workers at its U.S. plants which will be closed until May 1 as demand for cars in the country has plummeted due to the spread of the coronavirus.

A spokesman for Honda, which employs about 18,400 workers at plants in Alabama, Indiana and Ohio, said the Japanese automaker would guarantee salaries through Sunday, having suspended operations on March 23.

Operations at its Powersports plant in South Carolina which makes all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) have been suspended since March 26.

Automakers are facing a drop in sales in the United States, the world’s second-largest car market, after some states barred car dealers from selling new cars while “stay at home” orders are in place.

Last week, Nissan Motor Co (7201.T) said it would extend its U.S. production suspension into late April. Toyota Motor Corp has halted its U.S. and Canadian production through April 17 (7203.T).

Reporting by Maki Shiraki; editing by Jason Neely

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