Barely five days after being crowned as the world's best-selling carmaker in the world for the fourth consecutive year, Toyota has announced the suspension of production at its domestic plants for a week. It blamed the disruption to its production to shortages of parts.
In a statement issued on 1 February, the company said that it was facing a shortage of parts following an explosion at an Aichi Steel Corporation manufacturing facility on 8 January. All production on its vehicle assembly lines in Japan will be suspended from 8 February to 13 February.
"Operations are scheduled to recommence on February 15," the statement said. It said vehicle production on lines outside of Japan will not be suspended and will continue as usual. The carmaker did not say how its car production will be affected by the one week production shutdown.
The company said that it will continue to take measures necessary to minimise the impact of the shortage of parts on vehicle production. "Such measures may include production on alternate lines operated by Aichi Steel and procurement from other steelmakers," the statement added.
Aichi Steel said on 21 January that operations at its No 2 Bar Mill Shop at the Chita Plant is only expected to resume by the end of March 2016. "Every available effort is being made to ensure this [resumption of operations] is as soon as possible."
In the explosion, the reheating furnace and parts of the plant building was damaged. Four employees were taken to hospital for precautionary medical checks but it was later confirmed that there were no injuries.
In a statement, the company said until the operations at the plant can be restarted, it will continue to supply products using "inventory at hand and by utilising our substitute facilities and outside toll manufacturers for production." Its sales department is currently coordinating the supply of each product directly with customers.
Last week, Toyota took the crown for the fourth consecutive year as the world's top selling carmaker after selling 10.15 million cars in 2015. Although the number of cars sold was slightly lower than the 10.23 million vehicles sold in 2014, it still came out comfortably ahead of the 9.93 million sold by Volkswagen and 9.80 million by General Motors.