Auto sales plummet in Brazil; Tens of thousands of workers fired or on mandatory leave

SAO PAULO – Plummeting auto sales in Brazil have battered an industry that is a key part of the nation’s economy and has led tens of thousands of workers to be laid off or forced to take mandatory leave.

At least 6,000 workers in auto factories have been laid off since January, officials say, and another 20,000 have put on furlough.

The auto industry accounts for one-fourth of the nation’s industrial gross domestic product

An association of auto dealers known as Fenabrave says that 250 of the country’s 8,000 dealerships have gone out of business this year, resulting in 12,000 lost jobs.