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Post-Earthquake, Toyota Prepares To Reopen Some Plants In Japan

21 Avril 2016 - Autoblog

Post-Earthquake, Toyota Prepares To Reopen Some Plants In Japan

Toyota will restart vehicle production at most of its closed factories in Japan next week, but the factories that build the Mirai and many Lexus models will remain closed through at least April 28 and possibly longer.

The earthquakes around the city of Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu forced the automaker to stop most of its assembly throughout the country due to a lack of parts supply.

Toyota will reopen the plants in phases from April 25 to 28. However, the Motomachi factory with its LFA works, which makes the Mirai, and the Miyata factory will remain closed. These sites also build the Lexus NX, RX, ES, GS, and CT, according to Toyota. The automaker didn't say when production would begin again or how this would affect vehicle supply. "In the update, we received this morning from TMC, they said that at this stage it is too soon to tell what the impact on production will be, so we can't say yet whether there might be vehicle shortages in the US," spokesperson Aaron Fowles told Autoblog.

While the quakes were focused on Kyushu, they damaged Aisin Seiki factories, which supplied parts to Toyota plants across the country. The automaker worked with its partner to import the necessary components from China and Mexico, and Aisin started moving molds from the damaged plants to operational ones in Japan, which gets production under way sooner.

Automotive News Europe estimates the week of lost production cuts total assembly by 90,000 vehicles. It could cost Toyota the equivalent of $458.2 million to $641.5 million. The company could make up some of the losses through overtime.

Toyota says these plans are subject to change because on ongoing tremors in the region, which could cause more damage. Reuters reported there was a magnitude 5.5 aftershock in the Kumamoto area on April 19. So far, the quakes have killed at least 47 people and around 100,000 people have moved to evacuation centers.

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