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Automobiles

Toyota to halt 5 Japan plants in April as demand slows

SUVs for US and China-bound Lexus among models affected

Toyota will suspend a production line at this Lexus plant in Fukuoka Prefecture for nine days. (Photo by Shigeru Aoki)

NAGOYA, Japan -- Toyota Motor said Monday that it will suspend assembly lines at five domestic group plants next month to offset the slump in offshore demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Japanese automaker will halt seven lines starting April 3. The shutdowns are slated to last until April 15 at the longest, though the company may prolong the suspension, depending on foreign demand.

Plant workers will be advised to take paid leave. Affected offerings include the 4Runner sport utility vehicle for the North American market and China-bound Lexuses.

This decision follows plant suspensions Toyota has undertaken overseas in response to stay-at-home orders and other factors in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia and India. Meanwhile, the outbreak has slammed the brakes on automobile demand. Toyota faces an uncertain future on both the production and sales fronts.

Toyota will shut down one line at the Takaoka plant and two lines at the Tsutsumi plant through April 7, covering three days of operation for each. Two lines at the Tahara plant will be offline through as late as April 14, for as many as eight operating days. All three facilities are in Toyota's home base of central Aichi Prefecture.

One line at a Lexus plant in western Fukuoka Prefecture will halt operations from April 3 through April 15, or nine operating days. A line at group company Hino Motors' Hamura truck plant in Tokyo will be idle from April 3 to April 6, for two operating days.

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