Nissan Motor, Japan’s third-largest automaker, on Friday was reported to have said it would cut car production at two factories in Japan because of slow domestic sales.

Nissan spokeswoman Pauline Kee didn’t disclose the size of the cutback to The Associated Press (AP) but said it would affect production at factories in Kanagawa and Tochigi prefectures.

Each factory has two production lines and one in each will move from two- to one-shift operation from April to June, the report said, citing Kee.

“We are adjusting our production to balance output with market demand,” Kee reportedly said.

AP noted that Japan’s Nikkei newspaper had earlier reported that the Tokyo-based automaker is planning output cuts of 20% at each plant.

Production capacity at the Kanagawa plant is around 334,000 units a year, while the Tochigi factory can make 192,000 vehicles, the news agency said.

The Associated Press noted that, last month, Nissan slashed its annual profit forecast after seeing a 22% slump in earnings in the October-December quarter while, at the time, company president Carlos Ghosn declared a “performance crisis” at the Japanese automaker.

Last month, Reuters reported that Nissan North America would offer hourly production and maintenance workers at two US plants in Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee, buyouts that included a $US45,000 lump sum payment and $500 for each year of service.

The company cited higher car demand and lower truck/SUV volume resulting in a less labour-intensive manufacturing mix requiring fewer assemblers.

About 300 workers out of 6,200 at the two plants were expected to accept the buyout offers.