War Against Toyota Is Devouring Its Own Children
The Toyota witch hunt inquiry is beginning to show its surely unintended effects – on American jobs, businesses, and lest we forget, tax revenue.
Toyota has notified its major parts suppliers that its North American production for the February-April period is expected to reach roughly 350,000 units, around 20 percent lower than the number originally planned for in January, The Nikkei [sub] reports this morning in Tokyo.
Toyota halted sales of the eight models from late January to early February. They also stopped production at five North American plants from Feb. 1 to Feb. 5. Toyota recently decided to suspend operations at its Kentucky and Texas plants for a total of 14 days through April.
That was then, this is now. The Transportation Secretary himself has said that drivers of Toyotas may risk life and limb. The worst is yet to come – in collateral damage to American industry.
“Parts suppliers are bracing for the possibility that other Toyota plants may also suspend operations,” says the Nikkei. Toyota had figured that the recalls will depress worldwide sales by around 100,000 units. That projection is likely optimistic. “Some in the company now see its global sales dropping by an additional 50,000 units or so, with North America taking the biggest hit,” the Nikkei writes.
In Japan, Toyota remains mostly unscathed, with sales in February jumping around 60 percent from a year earlier. All quiet also at the European front. Production in Japan is churning along at 13,000 to 14,000 units a day, well above the break-even point of 12,000 units a day.
Note: Made-in-America Toyotas vastly outnumber imported Toyotas. According to Automotive News [sub,] Toyota’s sales in 2009 were comprised of 1,106,303 units built in NA, and 663,844 imported units.
With growing apprehension, Toyota and its parts suppliers are watching North American production. At the Wednesday inquisition, Inaba’s characterization of the Corolla as “an American car” wasn’t so well understood by the panel. Maybe, a look at the unemployment numbers a few months down the road will heighten the awareness. Or result in even more protectionism.
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