Toyota will progressively close factories across Japan as it deals with parts shortages caused by earthquakes and aftershocks that have caused widespread death and destruction.
Two earthquakes hit the southern island of Kyushu over the past week, a magnitude 6.4 quake last Thursday and a magnitude 7.3 quake on Saturday. There have also been an estimated 600 aftershocks from the two earthquakes.
According to NHK, the death toll currently stands at 44 people, with at least 1000 injured. 20,000 army personnel have been assigned to search and rescue, and aid delivery operations. The government has ordered around 250,000 people to evacuate.
Naturally, Japanese manufacturers who have factories or suppliers located on or around Kyushu have been affected by this latest set of earthquakes.
One of the hardest hit has been Toyota which, over the weekend, announced that, thanks to parts shortages, it will begin progressively shutting down production at many of its factories, with most of its homeland plants slated to close by the end of this week.
The factory suspensions will take place not only on Kyushu, but throughout the archipelago. Plants run by Toyota subsidiaries Hino Trucks and Daihatsu will also be temporarily taken offline.
With its highly streamlined just-in-time manufacturing processes, which typically only store a few hours worth of parts on-site, Toyota is susceptible to any issues in its supply chain.
According to Automotive News, almost all of the company's factories are affected. Only one Hino truck factory, a Daihatsu factory, and the facility that produces the low volume Century limousine will remain open.
Above: The made-in-Australia Toyota Camry.
According to a statement from Toyota Australia: "It is too soon to tell what the impact on production will be. [Toyota Motor Corporation] is continuing to review the situation and will provide further information about when production will recommence in due course."
Other automakers affected by the earthquakes include Honda and Nissan. Honda's Kumamoto motorcycle factory will be closed until the end of the week. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nissan has re-opened its facilities in Kyushu after a temporary closure.