Three automakers in Japan plan to put up to 20,000 workers on temporary leave due to ongoing production cuts, according to local reports, as global vehicle demand continues to be decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The three companies, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Mazda, have already asked some of their staff to take paid leave.

But more long-term measures are now being prepared as uncertainty continues to rise over the outlook for global vehicle demand.

Nissan is discussing with its labour union a plan to suspend 4,000 workers on reduced wages to help cut costs while Mitsubishi is looking to lay off 6,500 workers on the same basis.

Mazda already introduced a similar plan in late March, affecting a significant proportion of its 17,000 strong plant and white collar workforce at its Hiroshima headquarters.

As the extent of the downturn in global demand becomes more evident, more vehicle manufacturers in Japan are expected to follow this lead, to help them cut costs and weather the global crisis.