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article imageToyota halting some production Monday

By Ken Wightman     Jan 29, 2010 in Business
As Toyota prepares to halt temporarily productio at six North American plants Monday, suppliers to the giant automaker prepare to tighten their belts as well.
As Toyota Motor Corp. prepares to halt production at six North American plants Monday, the effect of the massive recall engulfing the world's No. 1 automaker will take a toll on the company's many suppliers.
The Japanese automaker has announced the recall of about 2.4 million vehicles on three continents --- North America, Europe and Asia. The size of the recall has grown as the extent of the problem with sticking gas pedals in Toyota vehicles has become known.
US-based Safety Research and Strategies, a safety research firm, said it had identified 2,274 incidents of unintended acceleration causing 275 crashes and 18 deaths in Toyotas since 1999
Toyota is taking the unprecedented step of suspending U.S. and Canadian production at the following facilities:
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada --- Woodstock and Cambridge --- (Corolla, Matrix, and RAV4)
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Sequoia and Highlander)
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky – Line 1 (Camry and Avalon)
• Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (Camry)
• Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (Tundra)
Suppliers to the affected plants will quickly feel the impact of the production suspensions as Toyota uses a just-in-time delivery system.
If the shutdowns prove lengthy, they will be bad news for the automotive industry workers affected and for the communities involved. For instance, in Canada Stratford will be hard-hit if supplier plants temporarily close as the picturesque little town has five plants feeding the Toyota Woodstock operation.
Larry Appel, director economic development City of Stratford, Ontario, Canada, is quoted in The London Free Press:
"I believe there will be some repercussions here. If it is just next week they are down, I am not that concerned. But if they shut down for weeks or months, then, obviously, it is a major concern."
Toyota has said the decision on whether or not to close temporarily has been left to the individual suppliers. It is believed some may use the time to build inventory and others may devote the time to retraining workers --- an approach being taken by Toyota itself. How this story will play out across North America is yet to be seen.
Originally, Toyota blamed all the SUA (sudden unintended acceleration) events on unsecured all-weather floor mats. Now it is thought that the true scale and cause of the SUA problem may be more complex.
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