LONDON -- Nissan will not extend the contracts of 248 temporary workers at its UK car factory, the automaker said on Thursday, as the industry struggles with reduced demand amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Output at the Sunderland plant in northern England was halted in mid-March and resumed at the start of the week but with only one line, known internally as Line 2, which makes the Juke and Qashqai SUVs.
The line started with just one shift and is expected to move to two shifts on June 22, Nissan said.
A second line, known as Line 1, builds the Qashqai and the Leaf full-electric sedan and will reopen on June 22 with just one shift, the automaker said. A second shift for that line is scheduled to be added June 29. Nissan cut a third shift at Sunderland last year due to slower sales.
"Given current business conditions in Europe, we are facing a period of reduced volumes in our Sunderland plant," the company said. "Unfortunately, therefore, we will not be extending the contracts of 248 temporary manufacturing staff at the plant."
The reduction means total staffing at the site will stand at 5,750 people.
The plant, which makes models that account for the bulk of Nissan's European sales, also remains under a cloud of uncertainty regarding the UK's exit from the European Union this year. The automaker has said UK operations are "unsustainable" if the country leaves the EU without a trade deal.
Nick Gibbs contributed to this report