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Toyota may lose 500,000 units of output post-quake, analyst says

4 April 2011

Toyota may lose 500,000 units of output post-quake, analyst says

Toyota may delay the production of at least 500,000 vehicles in Japan because of a shortage of parts and electricity after the nation's record earthquake, said an analyst at Advanced Research Japan.

Toyota's operating profit may be hurt by at least 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in the fiscal year ending today and up to 200 billion yen next fiscal year, said Koji Endo, an auto analyst at the research company. Any impact on production that spills overseas will further dampen earnings, he said.

Toyota has said the company lost 140,000 units of production from March 14 to March 26, citing a shortage of electronic parts, rubber and plastics. The carmaker resumed output of three models at two factories on March 24, prioritizing hybrids including the Prius. All 18 plants in Japan were halted until then.

Toyota built 3.28 million cars in Japan in 2010. "Hardly any cars will be built in April and a very low level of production will continue from May," Endo said. Toyota has been able to resume hybrid output using parts from suppliers who have recovered and remaining inventory, spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said.

Japanese manufacturers face a cut in summer power supply of about 15 percent after the March 11 temblor knocked out generators, curbing growth in the world's third-largest economy. Toyota may cooperate with other carmakers to devise a production rotation plan or conserve power in other ways, spokesman Masami Doi said.

Nissan, Japan's second-largest automaker, said it lost 55,000 units of production this month. The carmaker is supplying its factories in Japan with some automobile components from overseas as some of the local suppliers were affected by the earthquake and tsunami, Senior Vice President Andy Palmer said on March 29.

The parts being supplied include engine components from the U.S. as its Iwaki engine factory in Fukushima was damaged, he said.

Nissan will resume production at all car factories in Japan from April 11, the company said today. A damaged engine plant in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture will restart from mid-April, it said.

The parts shortage is already affecting North American production at Honda, which said earlier this week it is reducing output on the continent from March 30. The company declined to say how much North America production would be lost as a result of the cuts.

Honda has said it will lose 46,600 units of auto production from March 14 to April 3 after it closed three factories in Japan.

Globally, automakers may give up production of 600,000 vehicles by the end of this month, and manufacturing at plants in North America may be affected when parts supplies start running out as soon as early April, Michael Robinet, vice president of IHS Automotive, said last week.

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