TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. has agreed to hire some 400 workers from ailing Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s (MMC) Okazaki plant in central Japan when it closes at the end of 2005, MMC said on Wednesday.
The plant, which builds the Colt compact and Grandis minivan, is located near several of Toyota's factories in Aichi prefecture. The two Japanese auto makers had been negotiating the deal since early last week and were expected to finalize plans by the end of the month.
MMC had said it would transfer the 1,600 Okazaki plant workers to its other domestic vehicle and engine factories, but anticipated that many would prefer to seek re-employment in the same city.
"We are looking into re-employment opportunities with other local businesses for workers who will find it hard to relocate or wish to look for new employment," Japan's fourth-largest auto maker said in a statement.
"As part of our plans to introduce workers to local businesses, we ... today reached an agreement in which Toyota will take on some 400 workers from the plant."
MMC will also offer early retirement packages to 200 older workers, it said.
MMC had also asked Toyota last week to help parts suppliers that would be hit by the factory's closure. Toyota, the world's second-largest car maker and Japan's biggest, has declined to comment on such plans.
Debt-ridden MMC is struggling to rebuild itself after German-American partner DaimlerChrysler AG abandoned plans to rescue it earlier this year. It brought forward plans to close the Okazaki plant by a year to speed up the restructuring process.
Meanwhile, Toyota's plants around the world are running at full capacity, driven by robust sales growth.