Toyota Plants: Shortage of parts could cause N. America shut down

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We have reported before about the Japan earthquake causing supply issues with various tech companies. But the problem is also affecting other industries, with the news Toyota plants in North America could be forced to close due to a lack of parts.

Bruce Schreiner of MSNBC is reporting that Toyota Motor Corp. have said it is highly likely the plants will have to temporarily close down because of the parts issue. The move would affect 25,000 workers, but according to spokesman Mike Goss no layoffs are expected.

The closures have no time scale as it depends on how long before parts production in Japan comes back online.

So far the North American plants have been using stock they already had or what was shipped before the quake hit. Supplies are said to be very low and Goss said “We’re going to get to a point this month where that gap in the pipeline starts to show up. So we’ll have to suspend production for a while.”

Since the earthquake and tsunami Japans daily auto output has fallen by more than 500,000 vehicles. The problem is not restricted to just Toyota, as Ford and Nissan have said North American plants will close for part of this month.

Toyota relies on about 15% of its parts from Japan for the vehicles it builds in North America, and the shutdown will affect all Lexus and Toyota models built in the area.

Workers will be able to take vacation or time off without pay during the closures. And there will be programs for training and reviewing operations during the down time.

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