The impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is only just beginning to affect North American Toyota production. After previously stated production slowdowns for the end of April, Toyota has officially announced that slowdowns will continue throughout the rest of the spring.
Over the next several weeks, Toyota’s U.S plants will operate at 50% capacity on the days when production occurs until June 3. Over the same time period, vehicles won’t be built on Mondays or Fridays, taking out about 15 days’ worth of production.
Toyota operates 13 assembly plants in North America, producing vehicles that include the Toyota Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Highlander, Matrix, RAV4, Sienna, Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and the Lexus RX 350. Overall, about 70% of all Toyota models sold in the U.S. are made in North America.
The slowdowns will almost certainly affect America’s best-selling retail automotive brand throughout the spring and probably into the summer. Toyota has already officially warned its 1,500 dealerships to expect shortages. “The potential exists that supply of new vehicles could be significantly impacted this summer," Toyota's U.S. general manager Bob Carter said.
Restoring production to normal levels after June 3 isn’t set in stone, either. Toyota said it will determine that situation at a later date.