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Mercedes-Benz plans down time in Vance

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance is shuttering operations for two days this month and two weeks in January to cope with declining car sales.

The company announced the production slowdown to employees during a meeting Wednesday night. Company spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald said some employees will work on non-production days, but she declined to say how many.

The 4,000-employee, $1 billion plant offered buyouts in October. It also extended the usual one-week summer shutdown to four weeks this year.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has sharply cut production at its $1.4 billion auto assembly factory in Montgomery. The cuts were previously announced in mid-October at the plant with some 3,000 employees.

According to figures released Wednesday, Hyundai made 11,000 vehicles in Alabama last month, down from 21,503 in October and 22,350 in September.

November’s total represented the lowest monthly output for the Korean automaker’s only U.S. plant this year, Hyundai spokesman Robert Burns confirmed Thursday. He said no jobs were cut.

Burns said the plant had 14 production days in November and will close on Dec. 19 for the holidays and reopen Jan. 5.

Honda Motor Co. previously announced cutbacks in its North American production by another 18,000 vehicles, including 12,000 at its plant in Lincoln, Ala. The plant, with some 4,500 workers, makes the Odyssey minivan and Pilot sport utility vehicle.