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Toyota plants start again after six-day parts shortage

AFP-JIJI

Toyota said Monday that operations have resumed at its vehicle assembly and parts plants in Japan, ending its longest domestic production outage since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The world’s top automaker earlier said it would temporarily stop all domestic vehicle production from Feb. 8 to 13. It cited a components shortage following an explosion at supplier and affiliate Aichi Steel.

Additionally, Toyota said production at its “directly owned and operated” plants in Japan that make parts and components would also stop on Feb. 8 for one day, but later extended the stoppage to Saturday.

“Toyota would like to confirm that production recommenced today as scheduled,” it said in a statement Monday.

A total of 29 vehicle assembly and parts plants resumed operation Monday as components were obtained from other steel manufacturers as well as other Aichi Steel production lines, company spokeswoman Kayo Doi said.

Earlier this month, Toyota said the six-day suspension would be the longest since a 10-day stoppage following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of northeastern Japan.

The company’s production target for 2016 — 10.196 million vehicles globally, of which 4.134 million are to be made domestically — would not be affected as the company “will boost operations on holidays” to catch up with the target, Doi said.

Aichi Steel, which produces specialty steel products among other items, was hit by an explosion on Jan. 8 that badly damaged a facility.

It expects to return to full operation in March.

Toyota does not disclose its daily production plans, but the firm has said it produced 14,000 units a day in 2015.

The company, which surpassed Volkswagen in 2015 to keep the title of world’s top-selling automaker, produced more than 4 million cars in Japan last year and over 10 million worldwide.