Panasonic said it will lay off approximately 5,000 workers from its automotive and industrial unit, as part of efforts to boost its operating profit margin over the coming three years to a 5% minimum set by company president Kazuhiko Tsuga.

Yoshihiko Yamada, head of Panasonic's automotive and industrial division, told Reuters, "A reduction in labour costs will be a big part of our plan to improve profitability."

The division employs 110,000 people, around one-third of Panasonic's workforce. It deals with automotive components, semiconductors, production machinery and other devices, and is at the forefront of Tsuga's strategy to move Panasonic away from consumer electronics to developing gadgets and machinery that are sold to other companies.