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Toyota Ups Production – And Prices

Japanese makers and dealers taking advantage of anticipated shortages.

by on Apr.15, 2011

The Lexus RX450h has jumped nearly $3,000 in price since the beginning of the year.

After taking a 10-day break for the annual “Golden Week” holiday, Toyota plans to get its Japanese plants back into production, it says, though at a rate well below normal.

According to various estimates, Japanese makers have already lost at least 500,000 units of production due to the disaster that struck the country on March 11, killing tens of thousands and devastating Japan’s industrial infrastructure.  Production has also been impacted at so-called “transplant” assembly lines in North America, Europe and other parts of the world, Toyota, for one, planning sharp cuts in U.S. operations.

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The anticipated shortage of Japanese-made product is translating into a big increase in what American car buyers are paying, especially for high-demand models, such as the Toyota Prius, according to various groups tracking dealer pricing.

“Lexus is one the brands that’s being heavily affected because there was already tight supply before the crisis and there’s no new shipment coming in the foreseeable future. The same can also be said for both Acura and Infinti but to a lesser extent,” noted analyst Jess Toprak, of