Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker, said its production in Japan fell the most in 35 years last month after the nation’s record earthquake disrupted output.
Production in Japan plunged 78 percent to 53,823 vehicles, the largest decline since 1976, while global output dropped 48 percent, the company said in a statement today. Exports fell 79 percent.
Toyota, Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. are working to restore full plant operations in Japan and at factories abroad that are running short of parts. Toyota’s plants will run at 70 percent of planned levels in June, up from 50 percent in April and May. The company expects production to normalise by November or December.
“April is definitely the worst month,” said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at consulting company Carnorama in Tokyo. “Carmakers are making gradual progress with the recovery and Toyota is likely to get back to normal levels earlier than they’ve announced.”
About 30 types of components are still in critically short supply, compared with 150 in April, mostly electronic components, rubber and plastics, President Akio Toyoda said on May 11.
General Motors, VW
Toyota will have lost 550,000 units of Japan auto production and 350,000 overseas by the end of May due to parts shortages following the March 11 quake, the company said today.
Honda said its April Japan output fell 81 percent, pushing down global production 53 percent. Nissan said its domestic output declined 49 percent, while its global production decreased 22 percent to 248,024 vehicles.
Toyota may produce fewer than 6.5 million vehicles this year, compared with 8.6 million in 2010, according to auto analyst Koji Endo at Advanced Research Japan in Tokyo. That may lead to Toyota falling behind general Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG in global sales this year.
Japanese carmakers also face possible blackouts after the natural disasters reduced the nation’s power-generating capacity by 8 percent.
To help avert blackouts, carmakers and auto-parts manufacturers will close their domestic plants on Thursdays and Fridays and instead operate during weekends from July to September, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association said last week.
Toyota fell 0.3 percent to 3,345 yen in Tokyo trading as of 2:56 p.m. The stock has fallen 8.4 percent since March 10, the day before the temblor.-by Makiko Kitamura