Toyota to cut Japan output over high yen


Toyota Motor Corp. will gradually cut back its annual domestic production capacity by 400,000 vehicles to 3.2 million units while boosting its overseas output ratio to cope with the yen’s appreciation, company sources said Wednesday.

The auto giant will retain a production level of more than 3 million units per annum to protect domestic manufacturers, including parts and material makers, but also plans to enhance output in emerging economies such as China, they said.

Toyota previously said it would reduce its capacity to around 3.6 million units by the end of this year. The company’s domestic production capacity stood at more than 3.9 million units before the 2008 financial crisis.

The carmaker is integrating three production lines at its plant in Tahara, Aichi Prefecture, to scale down capacity, while group companies, including Daihatsu Motor Co., will seek to implement further downsizing.

Spurred by the government’s stimulus measures for eco-friendly vehicles, Toyota expects to see a 23 percent increase in its 2012 output from a year earlier to 3.4 million units. But production is expected to slow after the incentive scheme ends and the firm does not foresee expansion in the medium to long term.

Among its group companies, Kanto Auto Works Ltd. has already reduced capacity at its Higashi Fuji plant in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Slovakia car batteries


Panasonic Corp. will start producing battery cells in Slovakia, possibly this fall, for hybrid and other environmentally friendly vehicles to collaborate with foreign automakers in product planning, sources said Wednesday.

It will be the first time the electronics firm has produced battery cells overseas for vehicles. Panasonic will supply the products to Volkswagen to start out, the sources said. It will set up a factory in Bratislava, where VW has a plant, to make nickel hydride batteries.

Panasonic has been limiting battery production to Japan to prevent outflows of technology but believes overseas output is necessary to cope with globally growing demand for environmentally friendly vehicles, the sources said.