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Toyota to suspend car production in Japan after explosion at affiliate

01 February 2016

Toyota Motor Corp said on February 1 it would suspend production at all assembly plants in Japan next week in the wake of an explosion at a steel factory owned and operated by affiliate Aichi Steel. All Japanese assembly lines will halt from February 8 to 13, the company said in a statement. These lines account for 40% of group vehicle production, including all assembly of the Prius hybrid.

Stock image
Stock image

This follows the explosion on January 8 at Aichi Steel’s Chita plant, which supplies specialty steel for engine, transmission and chassis components. The explosion damaged a furnace and the building’s ceiling.

The company, which is 33% owned by Toyota, aims to restart operations by the end of March.

Toyota’s Japan assembly plants are scheduled to restart on February 15 and operations outside Japan will not be suspended, the company said. Toyota had been gearing up domestic production as a result of the introduction of the new Prius, with demand for the new model leading the company to boost Japan output to about 14,000 cars per day, President Akio Toyoda said in December.

Toyota is the world’s largest car manufacturer, producing more than 10 million units a year.

The lost output underscores the fragility of the car maker’s supply chain, based on lean production principles that rely on just-in-time deliveries of materials and components. The group’s production schedule was also seriously affected by the country’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

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