Ford has proposed temporary layoffs for 4,000 of its 6,200 workers at its Spanish assembly plant in Valencia because of sluggish European demand for new cars. Ford's Spanish division says it wants the workers to stay home for 39 days between January and October of next year.
Company spokesman Jose Perez said Wednesday that the division has started talks with unions to negotiate terms of the temporary layoffs.
The company says demand for cars in Spain and Europe is expected to remain weak in 2012 and that the Valencia plant needs the investment to produce new models. Ford in June announced an investment of 812 million euros ($1.1 billion) for the plant that it said would create dozens of jobs.
Police in Tuscaloosa, Ala., said Wednesday they dropped a charge against a German Mercedes-Benz executive who was arrested under Alabama's new crackdown on illegal immigration after a police officer caught him driving without identification required by the law.
Though Tuscaloosa police arrested the man last week for not having proper citizenship documents while driving a rental car in the city, city attorney Tim Nunnally said in an e-mail that the charge was dismissed after the man later provided the documents in municipal court.
Police identified the man as Detlev Hager, 46. The company said he was in Alabama on business at the time but declined further comment.
The arrest drew widespread attention because the German automaker is one of the state's leading employers, and its decision to build its first U.S. assembly plant in Alabama in 1993 provided the spark that helped lead to the state's large automotive industry, which includes foreign manufacturers Honda, Hyundai and Toyota.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch cited the executive's arrest in urging Mercedes to move to Missouri from Alabama.