Beginning on Monday, March 28, Toyota will restart production of three hybrid cars “which are in high demand” as Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said.
Both lines of Toyota’s Tsutsumi plant in Toyota City will begin full Prius production on Monday. These used to be mixed production lines. A few cars were left incomplete when Toyota stopped all production in all of Japan after the quake. Those cars will be finished. Then, both lines will make exclusively Prii (as in the now official Toyota Prius plural.)
Toyota’s Kyushu plant will begin making the Lexus HS 250h and CT 200h on Monday, March 28.
Nolasco confirms that (except for the aforementioned stragglers) the three hybrids are the only cars that will be made starting Monday. “We have no information on the other models,” Nolasco said.
News of the resumed production of the hybrids should take some pressure off the market. The Prius is Toyota’s best-selling model in Japan. In the U.S., there have already been reports of rising prices. With prices rising at the pump, shortages of fuel-efficient hybrids would come at highly inopportune times.
Although no official announcement has been made, it is a good guess that the bulk of Toyota’s production will remain suspended for another week, and possibly longer.
“Some sarcastically ask why it takes so long to check on the conditions of our suppliers,” Nolasco tells us. ” The fact is that conditions change. We are still checking on the conditions surrounding all of our suppliers. At this point, we still do not have everything lined up enough for full scale vehicle production.”