Toyota to cut global production by 40% in September on ASEAN outbreaks

Toyota’s Takaoka plant, in Aichi Prefecture. The automaker will temporarily suspend production lines at multiple domestic factories, including at its Takaoka plant, starting early next month.  (Photo by Koji Uema)

Nikkei staff writers | Japan

NAGOYA — Toyota Motor said Thursday it will reduce its global production for September by 40% from its previous plan, as the spread of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia adds to supply troubles for Japan’s top automaker.

The maker of the Prius hybrid and the RAV4 SUV had been planning to build a little under 900,000 automobiles for the month, but that number has been reduced to about 500,000 vehicles. Nikkei reported on the production cuts earlier.

Unlike other automakers, Toyota had been relatively unscathed by the global chip shortage until now. But now other components are starting to run short as Southeast Asian nations, home to key links in its supply chain, struggle to contain the coronavirus, forcing Toyota to halt assembly lines at home and abroad.

“The chip shortage is also a problem, but the big impact is from the coronavirus in Vietnam and Malaysia,” a spokesperson said.

Productions plans for October and beyond will depend on the situation in these Southeast Asian nations, the spokesperson also said.

The production cut means the automaker will temporarily suspend production lines at multiple domestic factories, including its Takaoka plant in Aichi Prefecture, starting early next month. Production in North America, China, Europe and other regions will be scaled back by a total of 220,000 vehicles.

Toyota has not downgraded its production forecast or earnings estimates for the year ending next March.

Toyota from late July to early August had already halted assembly lines at some Aichi factories, including the Tahara plant, due to a surge in COVID-19 infections in Vietnam, which put a strain on supply chains and made it difficult to procure parts. The company also temporarily suspended some of its production lines at its Takaoka plant earlier this month due to the chip shortage.

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