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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota Australia’s new vehicle production will be cut in half for May and June – and potentially longer – as a result of a parts supply shortage following last month’s Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The Altona manufacturing plant in Melbourne will operate on a schedule of around 50 percent over the next two months, with a decision about July production to be made in June.

From May 9, Toyota Australia’s 3300 Altona-based employees will work half-day vehicle production shifts, and will be involved in additional training and plant improvement activities where possible.

Throughout May and June, Toyota Australia expects to produce approximately 9600 Aurion, Camry and Hybrid Camry vehicles for Australia and export markets.

Toyota Australia executive director manufacturing, Chris Harrod, said the brand aimed to keep delivery delays to a minimum.

“Our focus is on ensuring optimum stock management to reduce the impact on customers of the immediate production shortfalls,” Mr Harrod said. “It may be difficult to avoid some inconvenience for some customers.

“It is important to note that this is a necessary response to a short-term supply issue and we intend to resume 100 percent vehicle production as quickly as possible.”

All of Toyota’s 18 manufacturing plants in Japan were forced to close following the March 11 disasters.

Production of three hybrid models (including the Prius) at different two plants restarted on March 28, with Toyota deciding to make those vehicles a priority.

As reported earlier this week, all other Toyota plants that are still closed in Japan will resume production on April 18 at around 50 percent capacity.

It is understood the closures in Japan have led to the loss of production of up to 500,000 Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles.

Meanwhile, five Toyota plants in Europe will be forced to shut down for “several days” in April and May as supply chain disruptions continue to wreak havoc on international production.




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