"The North American Class 8 truck market has declined in recent months," said the company in a prepared statement. "Kenworth has taken several actions to address the reduction in orders, including proactive sales and marketing programs as well as shutdown days, but the order intake is less than our build rate."
A company spokesman said high interest rates and high fuel prices were major reasons for the slowdown in truck sales. The plant has been working on a shared work program under which employees work four days a week and receive unemployment benefits for one day while the plant is shut down. The company was using the idle time for quality training.
About 300 people at Kenworth's Renton and Seattle plants will be affected by the build rate reduction, including both hourly and salaried employees.