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A recent report out of Japan had Toyota preparing to cut domestic vehicle production by up to 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Why? Sales of hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles are expected to drop following the expiration of tax incentives on those vehicles. Now comes word that Toyota has eliminated 600 jobs at its Japanese plants in preparation for the production slow down.

Toyota has a long-standing tradition of not laying off permanent full-time workers. So if you've got a job at Toyota, you've got a job for life. But something's got to give in today's economy. Unfortunately, current market conditions aren't getting along well with the Japense automaker's policy, and Toyota -- now officially the world's largest automaker -- may be finding that it's more difficult to follow through on the promise while shedding thousands of sales per month in the global downturn.

Sinking sales at its Lexus luxury division have prompted Toyota to lay off some 800 workers at a Japanese plant where certain Lexus models are assembled. All 800 workers were temporary hires provided by an outside agency, and Toyota claims that at least 500 of the temps will be brought back at some point in the future. It seems that Toyota, along with other Japanese automakers, are increasingly using these temporary workers so that they can more easily adjust their payroll to changing market con

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