Toyota to Restart Production from the 28th Focusing on Hybrids

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Toyota will be gradually restarting production in Japan from March 28th following the major earthquake in NE Japan earlier this month. Interestingly, their main focus will be getting hybrid production up and running as early as possible.

Their top priority is the current number one best-seller in Japan – the Prius. The Prius is also popular outside of Japan, and the fact that the factories involved in its production are in Aichi in central Japan and Fukuoka in the southern island of Kyushu probably makes things easier, since these locations are a long way from the area of immediate earthquake damage, and have also not been affected by power outages either.

The other two hybrid vehicles they are pushing to resume production quickly on are the Lexus HS250h and CT200h. While these do not sell in the same volumes as the Prius, they are popular cars overseas and so it is a priority for production to restart early on these two also.

Despite this, 15 of the Toyota group factories in Japan are still shut down and it is not clear when they will resume their production. The effects of the earthquake are also being felt in North America, where parts shortages are affecting production in these overseas facilities also.

Shortages of new cars from Japan and reduced production outputs from overseas plants has lead to predictions of a knock on effect for consumers as discounts and special deals are likely to become much harder to come by for a while. Of course, the flip side of that is that this all gives competitors, particular the Korean brands that share a similar market segment, a chance to gain market share.

Sources: Autocar, Nikkei (Japanese-language)

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