Fire forces Toyota to shutter Japan production for six days

Toyota announced yesterday that it will suspend its production for six days next week. The automaker will suspend production in the wake of a fire at a key supplier site. The supplier provides critical steel parts for Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles.

A fire that knocked down production of steel parts at a key Toyota supplier has forced the automaker to suspend production for six days as its part supply is drying up. The automaker is seeking an alternative. Automotive News said today that the Jan. 8 fire at the Aichi Steel Corp. plant in Chita City, has throttled critical engine parts including engines, transmissions and chassis parts. The suspension begins next Monday and continues until Feb. 13.

Though Toyota declined to state the impact of the fire on its home production lines, it is known that the automaker produces roughly 14,000 units at its domestic assembly plants. The automaker builds its profitable Scion, Lexus and Prius models in Japan. About 17 percent or 2,400 units were scheduled to be exported to the United States. The washout of this is that over the course of six days, the automaker will lose output of 84,000 vehicles with 14,200 bound for the U.S.

The automaker’s overseas plants, such as those in the United States, will continue to operate without a shutdown. In the U.S., Toyota keeps 71 percent of the vehicles it manufactures for sale here.

Meantime, Toyota is apparently using the downtime to find its way around the steel shortage. The automaker may ask Aichi to produce its parts on different lines, or it may seek its parts from other sources.

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