As Demand for Toyotas Dries Up, Automaker Prepares to Stem the Flow
Obviously, Toyota plants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are shut down due to the coronavirus (tentatively slated to reopen on May 4th), but the automaker’s Japanese plants are still going strong.
Come the month of May, those facilities won’t have to work quite as hard. Who’s buying, really?
Japan managed to hold the pandemic at bay for some time, though last week saw the nation’s leadership declared a national emergency. The daily death toll hit a new high on Tuesday. And while Japan hasn’t seen the kind of wide-scale lockdowns enacted in China, Europe, and North America, that doesn’t mean people aren’t altering their habits.
As COVID-19 cases grew in March, the country recorded a 9.2-percent drop in new vehicle sales, with April — and now May — looking grim for Japan’s vehicle output, to say nothing of domestic sales.
As reported by Reuters, Toyota will stem the flow of vehicles at its domestic assembly plants by 40 percent in May, targeting a figure of 79,000 vehicles for the month.
“Due to the effects of COVID-19 on the current market and the decline in demand of new vehicles globally, Toyota intends to make gradual adjustments in production operations at all plants for completed vehicles in Japan, starting from May 1,” the automaker said in a statement, adding that plants will either see operating days cut or double shifts pared down to single ones.
Six Japanese plants will go the former route, three the latter.
Vehicle sales in the U.S. have taken a huge hit due to the pandemic, though most of the Toyota vehicles sold in North America hail from that same region. Only a handful of models — the 86, Prius, Land Cruiser, and 4Runner — call a Japanese factory home.
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