More evidence that even the mighty Toyota is feeling the ill-effects of the global economic downturn has emerged with the news that it is trimming employment at its wholly-owned Kyushu operation that makes Lexus vehicles.

Toyota Motor Kyushu (TMK) has decided not to rehire 500 temporary employees for a factory manufacturing a range of Lexus luxury models.

When Toyota Motor Kyushu ended employment contracts for the 500 in August in light of shrinking US demand, it was still planning to rehire them on the assumption that production activities would rebound later.

However, the subsequent rapid deceleration in global economic activity has made it necessary for the company to conduct sharper production cutbacks than it had initially planned.

The wholly owned arm of Toyota Motor has been manufacturing Lexus models such as the RX350, IS350 and ES350.

Some 60% of the firm’s output is earmarked for the US market and it laid off 800 temporary workers on lower US demand, planning to rehire 500 of them later.