Quake update: Automakers expand production cutbacks

The supply chain aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan March 11 continue as both Toyota and Honda adjust their European, North American and China production plans.


ERLANGER, Ky.: The supply chain aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan March 11 continue as both Toyota, Honda and other automakers adjust European, North American and China production plans.

Yesterday Toyota Motor Co. announced an eight-day production halt through Europe, including Turkey, Britain, France and Poland. In China, plants will run at 50% of capacity and in “extreme circumstances” at 30% through June 5.

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc. (TEMA) announced April 19 that it will continue Monday and Friday production shutdowns from April 26 to June 3, and run production at 50% on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Canadian production at the Cambridge and Woodstock, Ont. plants where Toyota makes Corollas, Matrixs, the Lexus and RAV4s will also be suspended during the week of May 23, in conjunction with the Victoria Day holiday.

US production will be suspended the week of May 30 in conjunction with the Memorial Day holiday.

Toyota said no lay offs are planned. Employees will use the non-production time for training and plant improvement activities.

“We are trying to continue production as much as possible and keep our workforce intact in order to facilitate a smooth transition back to full production when all parts are available,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice-president of TEMA.

Toyota said North American production plans beyond June 3 will be decided at a later date.

The Honda Motor Co. Ltd. said it resumed limited production of finished automobiles at about 50% of its original production plan as of April 11 at the Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory (Sayama, Saitama) and the Suzuka Factory (Suzuka, Mie), bringing all Honda auto plants in Japan back into production.

North American production cuts will continue through May 6, and the automaker with plants in Alliston, Ont. said additional production adjustments will continue after that date.

The company says none of its 21,000 North American factory workers will be laid off.

Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. recently said that several North American plants would be closed for part of this month. Chrysler Group LLC is cutting overtime at plants in Canada and Mexico to conserve parts from Japan.

GM has been relatively unaffected by the parts shortages but said in a statement Wednesday it still could be forced to temporarily suspend production at factories around the world. It also may change production schedules, but will make the best use of parts that are in short supply.

With files from The Canadian Press

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