Toyota Restarts One Tired Old Plant. That's It For Now

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
toyota restarts one tired old plant that s it for now

Everybody thinks the Japanese auto industry will re-open for business next week, and will happily produce away. This is clearly not the case. What will be opened will proceed very carefully through the minefields of missing parts and cut power. A lot will not be re-opened at all.

When we reported yesterday about the flash message that Toyota will restart the Corolla production at the Sagamihara plant, we deduced that this could mean a prolonged outage for their new Miyagi plant up north. As often, there is a bigger story lurking in a smaller story.

Talking today to Toyota HQ in Tokyo, they confirm that on Monday, April 11, their Sagamihara plant on the outskirts of Tokyo will re-open to produce the Corolla, the Corolla Axio, and the Raum, a small MPV made only for the Japanese market.

This in addition to the restarted hybrid production, and the limited parts production that had been restarted a week after the tsunami hit.

But what about all the other cars? When confronted with that question, Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco says:

“We have yet to determine when any of the other vehicle lines will go back on-line.”

Meaning: As of Monday, April 11, Toyota will be building the Prius, the Lexus HS 250h and CT 200h, plus the aforementioned JDM cars built in Sagamihara, a tired plant that was scheduled for decommissioning. Toyota will continue making parts Toyota makes itself, including parts for foreign production. That’s it until further notice.

Nobody at Toyota can say for sure when and what else will be produced. There certainly is no substance to media reports from a week ago, which claimed that the Miyagi plant will start making Yaris cars by the end of April, after all the other plants had opened.

By the end of this week, Toyota is looking at a production loss of 260,000 cars, Nolasco confirms. The commonly accepted number for the Japanese car industry as a whole was 400,000 by the end of March. Performing a back of the envelope calculation with very limited input and even less foresight, it is conceivable that the industry in total will have lost a million cars by the end of April – in Japan alone.

Join the conversation
  • Zackman Zackman on Apr 07, 2011

    Bertel, it recently came over that another earthquake has happened in Japan.

    • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Apr 07, 2011

      From what we get here on the Japanese news, no major impact. It was in the same area, so a lot that could be broken already is. No tsunami. One shut down power plant lost external power which is needed to cool fuel rods. On generator power. Another shut down power plant lost two out of three power lines (not power supplies which was previously reported). Cooling.

  • Jimal Jimal on Apr 07, 2011

    In a sad, tragic way does this not, at least in the short term, take care of some of the over capacity in the automotive industry?

  • Philip This raises two questions for me:[list=1][*]What happens to all of the chargepoint that we have installed at our homes? Do those all have to be replaced?[/*][*]What happens to all of the billions of dollars from the federal government being spent on non-tesla ports at wal-marts and pilot service centers? [/*][/list=1]
  • FreedMike I didn't know the 318 was made in anything but that ugly hatchback style.
  • Jkross22 Good for the seller selling at the right time. I don't see 7 grand here for a 30 year old 318i, but as the late John Candy said, "You don't make any calls, you don't make any sales."
  • Analoggrotto For Tesla owns the entire universe, General Motors is allowed to have part of the heavens on earth, but only true Tesla owners, the first and true followers of Elon Musk will see the purest of Elysium.
  • Probert The only extra port I see happening is a V2G outlet. I don't think the Tesla port supports this. To have both CCS and Tesla would involve masses of cabling and expense that would be absurd in a game of nickels and dimes.