Honda begins a four-month hibernation at its Swindon plant at the close of play today.
Staff there will be on full pay for the first two months then 60 per cent for the second two.
Registrations of new Hondas were 20.95 per cent down last year on 2007 stats.
The CBI says 90 per cent of UK automotive plants are currently running below capacity.
Peter Mandelson has said government is considering a wage subsidy for firms choosing short-time hours over redundancies. Read his speech revealing his financial support package for UK automotive here. Reactions from the manufacturing community will follow.