Toyota suspends production on 14 lines at 9 plants in Japan due to earthquake

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TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. said it will suspend production at nine plants in Japan for several days this week because of supply disruptions from a weekend earthquake that rattled the country’s northeast.

The world’s biggest automaker said the interruption is caused by suppliers affected by the Saturday night quake. Toyota said it wouldn’t disclose which parts are affected or the suppliers.

But the parts are not semiconductors, spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said. That disclosure comes despite the fact that the global industry is facing a shortage of automotive microchips and the fact that a key semiconductor plant in Japan has reduced output due to the quake.

Toyota also declined to say how many units of output would be lost. The suspensions start as early as Feb. 17 at some plants and run through Saturday, February 20, at all the affected lines. Toyota is still considering when to resume operation after that.
Toyota said the supply chain issues were not expected to affect overseas production.

The downtime hits 14 of the carmaker’s 28 lines in Japan and such nameplates as the Toyota RAV4, C-HR and Harrier crossovers, and several Lexus models. Affected Lexus vehicles include the LS and IS sedans, the RC and LC coupes, as well as the LX, NX, UX and RX crossovers and SUVs.

Renesas Electronics, a key supplier of automotive semiconductors, said on Monday that it restarted wafer production at a facility that was shut down for safety checks after the quake. But it said the plant won’t ramp up to full pre-earthquake production until next week.

The 7.3 magnitude temblor struck off Japan’s northeast coast near the epicenter of the devastating Tohoku earthquake that hit 10 years earlier, killing more than 16,000. That quake triggered a massive tsunami and meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The latest quake injured some 160 people and caused blackouts to nearly 1 million households.

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