Renault will halt output at its only Brazilian plant for a few days later this month and send 1,000 workers on forced leave due to weak demand, Reuters reported.

The report said Renault’s move followed similar work stoppages by competitors such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford amid an economic slowdown in Latin America’s largest economy due to high interest rates, which has also affected Brazilians’ purchasing power as credit became more expensive.

According to Reuters, the passenger car unit at the Sao Jose dos Pinhais plant in the southern state of Parana, which produces Renault’s Clio and scenic models, will stop between July 14 and July 23.

Working shifts at the engine unit will also be reduced, Reuters added, noting that the unit will stop production completely between July 14 and July 18. The company did not say how many vehicles would not be produced, the report said.

Reuters said the utility vehicle unit, which assembles Nissan Frontier and Xterra sport utility vehicles, will not be affected.

Last month, Brazil’s National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers forecast that vehicle sales will fall 5% in 2003, Reuters noted.