Nissan Motor Co. of Japan is slashing 20,000 jobs, or 8.5% of its workforce, to cope with its first annual loss in nine years. Nissan expects to post a $2.9 billion net loss for 2008. Nissan's work force will be reduced by 20,000 through March 2010. Of the lost jobs, 12,000 will be in Japan and the rest will be elsewhere. Nissan has already reduced its workers in Japan by about 2,000 and cut its British work force by 1,200. It also offered early retirement to 1,200 workers in the U.S., but that number will likely increase, according to Nissan. It also has work stoppages in Spain. Like other Japanese automakers, Nissan has been hurt by the global recession, slow sales in North America and a strong yen that ate into profits by reducing the value of foriegn exchanges. Toyota and Honda, which have gas-electric hybrids hitting the market this year, are better positioned to boost sales. Nissan does not have a comparable hybrid model.