Nissan to cut output, may shut plants
TOKYO - As domestic demand languishes, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Japan's second-largest automaker, plans to slash domestic production capacity by about 15 percent over the next five years and may close some plants.
Nissan shut its Zama plant in 1995, but plant closures in Japan are rare. Kosei Minami, executive vice president of Nissan, said the company will cut annual production capacity to 1.7 million vehicles from the current 2 million vehicles by 2003, The Associated Press reported.
As a result, the company might have to close some of the Nissan group's eight plants, Minami said. He did not specify which could be shuttered.
RICHMOND, Va. - CarMax Group, a Richmond-based automotive retail chain, reported a net loss of $13.5 million for the first nine months of its fiscal year, compared with a $12.1 mil-lion loss for the same period the year before. However, revenue for the nine-month period, which ended Nov. 30, rose 78.8 percent to $1.09 billion.
SAO PAULO, Brazil - Ford Motor Co.'s Brazilian subsidiary plans to lay off 2,800 workers, or 41 percent of the work force, at one of its main factories, the Brazilian media reported. According to the O Globo newspaper, the layoffs will take place in January because of an agreement with the government that provided the company tax breaks in exchange for not firing workers in 1998. No one at Ford was available to confirm the reports, according to The Associated Press.
LUXURY TAX FALLS
WASHINGTON - The federal luxury tax on new cars and some light trucks will drop from 7 percent to 6 percent on Jan. 1, but the threshold at which the tax kicks in will stay at $36,000.
Opponents of the tax had expected - and hoped - that the threshold would rise in 1999 and would affect fewer vehicles.
But the IRS determined inflation was insufficient to warrant a change, according to Lori Barnes, spokeswoman for the American International Automobile Dealers Association.
The tax is assessed on the amount by which the transaction price exceeds the threshold price. In 1999 the tax on a vehicle with a transaction price of $40,000 will be 6 percent of the amount over $36,000, or $240. The tax is on a schedule to be phased out by Jan. 1, 2003.