• Kyodo


Toyota Motor Corp. Monday resumed manufacturing Monday at all domestic plants, with parts availability improving along with efforts to restore its supply chain after the massive March 11 earthquake.

Nissan Motor Co. meanwhile restarted operations at its engine plant in quake-hit Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday, in a sign automakers are making headway toward recovery from the quake and tsunami.

Toyota will continue manufacturing all models until June 3 and will make a decision on production after that date, company officials said.

Toyota’s Motomachi plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, started operations at 6:30 a.m., resuming production of the Crown and Mark X.

Group companies Central Motor Co. and Kanto Auto Works Ltd. also restarted operations at plants in quake-hit Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, respectively, the officials said.

After suspending car assembly at all 17 domestic plants on March 14, Toyota resumed output of models including the mainstay Prius gasoline-electric hybrid at three plants.

As for the other plants, Toyota has been trying to resume production of all models as much as possible to raise output efficiency while bearing in mind its dealerships, which handle different models depending on their sales groups.

Since the disaster likely prevented Toyota from producing more than 300,000 vehicles, concerns have emerged about how deeply it impacted its business.

It remains uncertain when production will normalize because the plants’ operating rate will be around 50 percent of normal and output in Europe and the United States has been temporarily suspended.

Under the circumstances, the automaker is considering putting off releasing its earnings projection for fiscal 2011 when it announces its financial statements for fiscal 2010 in May, until later in the month.

According to Deutsche Securities Inc., it is likely to take about six months for Japanese automakers to restore their output capacity to pre-quake levels because many parts manufacturers were hit by the disaster, while concerns about power shortages in the summer remain.

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