Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday suspended seven production lines at five domestic plants to adjust to weak global demand due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The decision marks the first time that Japan’s biggest automaker has halted operations at domestic factories since the novel coronavirus outbreak started.
The five plants all produce cars for export and the halt will lead to vehicle production cuts of about 36,000 units, according to the automaker.
Output at the Miyata plant in Fukuoka Prefecture will be suspended for the longest period, continuing through April 15.
All operations will be stopped at the firm’s Tsutsumi and Tahara plants in Aichi Prefecture, while some operations will be idled at its Takaoka plant, also in Aichi, and its Hamura factory in Tokyo. The latter is run by subsidiary Hino Motors Ltd.
The automaker is recommending plant workers use paid holidays during the period. If they choose to work, they will be tasked with coming up with ideas to improve production efficiency, the firm said.
Toyota reported that its global production fell 13.8 percent in February from a year earlier. Worldwide production for the Toyota Group, which includes Daihatsu Motor Co. and Hino, declined 12.2 percent to 762,802 units, according to the company. Global sales dropped 4.6 percent.
Auto output has been suspended in many countries since the virus broke out in China late last year. Toyota is temporarily halting production at all plants in Europe, as well as joining Honda Motor Co. in extending the closures of factories in the U.S. and Canada.
Toyota also suspend its plant in Russia for five days starting Monday. It added that vehicle and parts factories that have seen operations suspended in six other nations, including Britain and Turkey, are likely to be halted at least until April 19.
In addition to slowing consumption, the pandemic has disrupted supply chains and prevented workers from commuting to factories.