Nissan has furloughed most of its 6,000 employees at its UK plant after announcing it will remain closed for the rest of the month at least.
The Wearside plant, often described as Europe’s most productive, was shuttered on March 17 due to the coronavirus.
Nissan said the halt in production will continue throughout April.
In a statement, the firm said: “During this period the majority of plant employees will be furloughed, under the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.”
It added: “Our goal is to navigate through this crisis while maintaining activities critical for business continuity and to make sure we are prepared for the time when business resumes in Europe and we can welcome the Nissan team back to work.”