Toyota pares back production of models like Camry at North American plants but resumes some Japanese operations tomorrow.
With the lights on the landmark Tokyo Tower darkened due to power shortages across the country, things are anything but back to normal in Japan, but one sign of progress comes from Toyota, which says it will reopen some of its parts plants on Thursday, though the maker will keep assembly lines shuttered until at least the 22nd.
The plants resuming operation tomorrow will supply much-needed parts to vehicles in use in Japan. Meanwhile, Toyota said, it will resume production, next Monday, of parts needed by its overseas plants.
That’s good news for managers of assembly operations in North America, where the maker late yesterday announced it would trim overtime and Saturday hours because of the threat of possible parts shortages. Like many so-called “transplants,” Toyota’s U.S. and Canadian assembly lines remain dependent upon many parts and components shipped in from Japan.
“It didn’t make any sense to build vehicles on overtime if we were not sure we would have enough parts,” explained spokesman Javier Moreno. How long the slowdown will continue remains uncertain. “We’re not sure how many parts they can send us,” said Moreno.
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Toyota isn’t the only maker worried about the impact on foreign operations. Subaru has halted production at its Indiana plant. And even Detroit makers are worried about parts shortages triggered by problems with Japanese suppliers.
Chris Perry, General Motors vice president of marketing, told reporters in Detroit it is possible GM’s production in the U.S. could be hurt. “It’s going to have an effect on all manufacturers,” said Perry adding the impact could extend to GM’s operations in China.