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Automotive News Europe reports that struggling Japanese automaker Mazda is set to cut a total of 250 jobs in the U.S. and Europe. The cuts, originally reported by Japan's Nikkei, come as part of new reorganization efforts and represent 25 percent of the company's staff in both markets. Mazda has registered losses for the past four years due in part to slow sales and a stronger yen. As a result, the company is looking to tighten its belt around the world.

Mazda sales are up 22 percent this year, but the company's American operation is enduring acute pain. It is in the midst of a complete, five-month reorganization while trying to raise funds and shrink its workforce. In March, Mazda announced its intention to offer voluntary buyouts to its U.S. employees, after which it would assess the plan and then lay off other workers if needed. Of the firm's 701 local workers, 107 have accepted the voluntary buyout.

Foreign automakers Mazda and Hyundai are trimming their ranks of workers in the United States. Mazda saw its sales decline by over 10% in 2008 and the new year is shaping up to be significantly worse as the Japanese automaker posted a sales decline of 27.3% in January compared to the previous year. In response, roughly 110 Mazda employees were laid off this month from a total of about 800 employees.

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