Toyota Motors has announced it will partly suspend production at over a dozen factories in the United States and Canada following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan and the nuclear power plant crises that has ensued.
"Toyota has trimmed production at its North American plants as the company tries to get a handle on the pressing supply issues it faces as a result of the devastating disasters in Japan," reports CTV News.
The Japanese automaker has announced that it has also temporarily halted production at all of its factories in Japan "due to damage at the maker's subsidiary parts and assembly plants in disaster-hit areas," according to NHK World, a Japanese broadcasting company.
Nissan and Honda have joined Toyota in shutting down production in the quake-ravaged country.
According to an announcement from Toyota's New York corporate office "all weekday overtime and Saturday operations will be temporarily halted due to the difficulty in securing parts from Japan," reports CTV.
"Toyota now makes 12 different models in North America, including its popular Camry, Corolla, RAV4, and Lexus RX 350. Seventy percent of all Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. are made in North America," said Toyota in a press release. The North American inventory of the Prius, made exclusively in Japan, are adequate for now despite the halt in production of the automobile in Japan.
Pat Clement, the assistant manager of external affairs for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc., told CTV "The company is trying to conserve parts and establish the status of its entire supply chain."
Toyota's global output could be affected if stoppage of parts production in Japan continues for a long time
The automaker will resume parts production at its Japanese plants on Thursday, which will allow the company "to take care of current Toyota customers who may need repairs."
"They are gathering as much information as they possibly can," Clement told CTV.ca in a telephone interview.
Clement said the overtime restrictions will also affect all of the Toyota plants in Ontario.
Toyota Motor Corporation posted the following message from President Akio Toyoda on its corporate website:
"I offer my prayers to all those who lost their lives in the March 11 Tohoku Earthquake and its ensuing aftermath, as well as my sympathy to the survivors and their families. Not only is the struck region one of our production bases, those directly hit and vastly affected include our dealers, suppliers and numerous other partners. With life the number-one priority, we want to do all we can to contribute to the relief efforts. We are determined to provide hope for not only those suffering and forced to undergo extreme hardships, but also for the region overall, we will do our utmost toward the realization of recovery."
Toyota Motor Corporation has donated over 300 million yen (approximately $3.75 million) to support relief efforts in Japan. Toyota has announced they will match dollar for dollar all donations by employees to the American Red Cross.
"Joseph D'Cruz, professor of strategic management at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, says it's too early to predict how long the supply interruption will last. We can be looking at anywhere from six weeks to six months," he told CTV News on Wednesday.