• Kyodo News

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Honda Motor Co. restarted hiring contract workers for one of its domestic factories in May, about a year after the global financial crisis forced it to cut such workers at its plants, Honda officials said Thursday.

Honda plans to hire 600 contract workers for its factory in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, by month’s end, they said.

The contract workers will be the first hired since November 2008 as sales of vehicles bound for the North American market, especially sport utility vehicles, gradually recover, they said.

The global financial crisis that toppled Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in September 2008, ushering in the Great Recession, also forced Honda to slash production and eliminate contract workers at its domestic factories between April 2009 and April this year.

Although its rivals, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co., have earlier resumed hiring contract workers, Honda had until recently met any additional demand for its vehicles by arranging for workers at its affiliated parts makers to help or by having regular workers put in extra hours.

Although Honda had been operating only one of the two lines at the Saitama factory in just the daytime shift prior to resuming the hiring, it will now operate both lines in daytime and nighttime shifts.

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