Mazda Motor on Friday said it would reduce Japanese vehicle production by at least another 100,000 units this fiscal year ending March 2009 due to slow sales.

The automaker also said its Hiroshima plant would suspend operations on 25-26 December in addition to a previous announcement it would suspend operations at Hofu for the same two days. Christmas is not a holiday in Japan.

Mazda also said night shift operations at the Hiroshima and Hofu plants would be suspended in January 2009.

“Although no decision has been made about operations after February 2009, our policy will be to match production levels to prevailing market conditions,” the automaker said in a statement.

The automaker has now reduced fiscal year output by at least 148,000 units to under 948,000 units, Reuters reported. It had forecast production of 1.096m units at the beginning of the year.

Honda Motor plans further cuts to its US output, it was reported today.