Toyota to restart storm-damaged Texas truck plant

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

DALLAS — Toyota’s San Antonio plant is expected to restart slowly on Friday afternoon after a storm knocked out power midweek and stopped production of midsize and large pickups.

Toyota said it planned to resume output at a modified pace with the second shift that begins at 6:30 p.m. local time. The slow start is to make sure equipment is operating normally and safely.

“Should all processes be confirmed, we plan to run normal production Saturday,” said Mario Lozoya, director of external affairs for the manufacturing unit.

A storm that blew through the San Antonio area Tuesday night and Wednesday morning lashed the plant with strong rains and winds, knocking out electrical power and causing some roof damage that allowed water in.

The factory is the only Toyota plant in North America that operates on Saturdays. The additional eight-hour shift started in late March because of brisk demand for some trucks, Lozoya said. The factory does not operate on Sundays.

This year through April, U.S. sales of the Tacoma have climbed 13 percent to 62,682 while Tundra deliveries have slipped 9.2 percent to 35,794.

The Texas plant pumps out a truck every minute, or about 1,000 a day after accounting for breaks and overtime. The line stopped at 1 a.m. local time on Wednesday, so it lost a little more than five shifts, Lozoya said.

He added, “Our plan to make that up is overtime each production shift, once we are back online.”

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