PARIS -- Nissan and its Spanish unions have agreed to reduce headcount at the Japanese carmaker's Barcelona plant by about a third, to 2,800 employees, as part of a wider restructuring plan leading up to 2012.
The work force reduction is based around an assumption of two daily shifts and annual output of 128,000 vehicles, or 80 percent of capacity, Nissan said.
Workers at the plant had previously demonstrated against Nissan's plans, initially announced in October, to cut 1,680 jobs as part of a worldwide restructuring linked to the global economic crisis.
Nissan executives told Automotive News Europe that "right-sizing" the Barcelona plant and improving productivity are pre-conditions for any decision on building new vehicles there.
The Barcelona plant currently produces the slow-selling Pathfinder large SUV, the Navarra pickup truck and vans co-badged for Nissan, Renault and GM's German subsidiary Opel.
Nissan executives have said a new vehicle is essential if the Barcelona plant -- the first Japanese investment in the European auto industry -- is to continue operations post-2012.
To reduce headcount in the run-up to this deadline, Nissan has pledged employment search assistance to workers who take voluntary buyouts between now and 2011.
Auto production in Spain plunged 53 percent in January over the same time last year to 123,762 units, its biggest-ever monthly drop, the Spanish automakers' association ANFAC said Wednesday.
-- Reuters contributed