With global leadership in the auto industry hanging in the balance, Toyota is set to resume production at a big assembly complex in the Chinese port city of Tianjin, which was rocked earlier this month by a huge explosion that killed more than 140 and created a crisis for the government of the Republic of China even as it scrambles to contain the country’s mounting economic woes.
The slowdown in economic growth across China, highlighted by the plunge in Chinse stock indices, has cut into new car sales across the country. But major global carmakers, such as Toyota, Volkswagen and General Motors still count on the Chinese market for a significant portion of the worldwide sales.
The unexpected shutdown came at a critical time for Toyota. The Japanese maker saw its global sales slip behind Volkswagen for the first half of 2015, and the loss of production in Tianjin could give its German rival a stronger run for leadership during the rest of the year.