TOKYO -- Toyota Motor announced on Sunday that it will suspend most car production across Japan after a crucial part of its supply chain was cut by the two earthquakes which devastated the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.
The automaker will halt production at all of its major assembly lines at its four directly-run car plants, and will suspend production in stages at other group companies. According to a Toyota announcement, five assembly lines will stop at its directly-owned factories in Takaoka, Tsutsumi, and Tahara from April 19 to 23, followed by two production lines at Tahara and Motomachi from April 20 to 23.
This means that all seven of Toyota's directly-operated mass assembly lines will be shut down. Group companies will also suspend most of their production between April 18-23, shutting down most of the entire Toyota group in Japan. It is expected that as many as 50,000 vehicles will be lost in the shutdown. Production affected includes popular models such as the hybrid Prius, the Crown, the Land Cruiser and Lexus.
"Decisions regarding recommencement of operation at plants in Japan will be made on the basis of availability of parts," the company said in its announcement.
Aisin Seiki, a key Toyota supplier that produces auto parts such as the body, brakes and engines, has a subsidiary in Kumamoto prefecture that was hit hard by the earthquakes. The tremors shook Kumamoto on Thursday night and early on Saturday morning, killing dozens of people, injuring 2,000 and leaving up to 250,000 residents homeless. There was extensive damage to roads, bridges, tunnels and buildings in Kumamoto, although cities further north in Japan such as Tokyo and Osaka were not affected.