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Hino Motors Co., a truck maker belonging to the Toyota group, said Tuesday it has lowered its earnings projections for fiscal 1998 and will cut about 10 percent of its 10,000-strong workforce during the next fiscal year.

Hino’s sales projection has been lowered from 444 billion yen to 417.5 billion yen, and its pretax loss will grow from 26 billion yen to 43.1 billion yen, the firm said at a press conference in Tokyo.

Severely hit by the economic slump both at home and abroad, production of Hino-brand trucks is estimated to drop nearly 60 percent to 15,000 units for fiscal 1998, compared with the previous fiscal year.

Assembly of trucks entrusted by Toyota Motor Corp. will also drop from 243,000 to 230,000 units, with the domestic market shrinking during the fiscal year, Hino executives said.

Hino also hopes to release 400 employees by promoting early retirement packages and other measures, 350 through transfers to sales companies, and 250 by cutting back on use of temporary workers from outside firms.

Hino executives said that they are now negotiating with labor unions to implement a labor-sharing system for 300 workers in its non-production section above age 55. The company is now asking them to reduce daily working hours from eight to seven to retain more jobs, they said.

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