TOKYO -- Mazda Motor Corp. plans to cut 150 jobs in the United States or about 20 percent of its local work force this year as part of it global restructuring plan, Japan's Nikkei business daily reported last week.
Another 100 jobs are expected to be cut in Europe by Mazda, which is embarking on a global cost-cutting campaign as it struggles to end four straight years of losses.
Mazda informed its U.S. employees of the job cuts in a March 3 memo. And it has since said that 107 workers in the United States have already accepted voluntary buyout offers.
The job cuts referenced by the Nikkei are the same as those already announced, Mazda spokeswoman Michiko Terashima said.
She said Mazda would not disclose layoff target figures or give an update on how many workers have agreed to leave.
Extrapolating from the Nikkei's June 1 report, Mazda would be targeting another 50 or so jobs in the United States. The company had 701 workers there at the beginning of March.
Jim O'Sullivan, CEO of Mazda North American Operations, told employees in his March memo that layoffs could occur if Mazda didn't hit its cost-cutting goals through the buyouts.
Last week, a Mazda spokesman wrote in an e-mail: "I don't know where the 20 percent came from. What I can confirm is that we have told employees that we are not planning to do any involuntary separations."
The voluntary buyout offers in the United States included separation pay, a lump-sum payment based on years of service and assistance locating a new job.
In Europe, the company will reduce staff at its German unit, which is in charge of European sales, by a third to just under 200 workers, the Nikkei said.
Mazda has suffered from slumping global sales, high r&d costs and a heavy reliance on exports that makes it especially vulnerable to the strong Japanese yen.
Mazda's operating losses in North America increased to $505 million in the fiscal year that ended March 31, from $397 million the year before.
Ryan Beene contributed to this report