Life Auto Toyota slashes production as COVID hits suppliers
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Toyota slashes production as COVID hits suppliers

This Toyota's with the "VIRUS" number plate couldn't be more appropriate. Photo: Instagram/Brown Cardigan
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Toyota will drastically reduce global production by 40 per cent, becoming the last major automaker to cut output due to critical shortages of semiconductors and other parts brought about the COVID pandemic.

The world’s largest automaker by sales volumes has fared better than rivals, having built a larger stockpile of chips under a business continuity plan adopted after the 2011 earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But a resurgence in COVID-19 cases across Asia has compounded the semiconductor crunch.

A Toyota executive said on Thursday the September cuts included 15 factories in Japan and overseas plants, and it was reducing its planned global production that month by around 360,000 vehicles.

Toyota shares closed down 4.4 per cent in their biggest daily drop since December 2018, pulling the benchmark Nikkei average to a seven-month low.

Toyota said this month it was facing an unpredictable business environment due to fresh COVID-19 cases in emerging economies, the semiconductor shortage and soaring material prices.

The carmaker had already halted assembly lines at some Japanese factories between late July and early August, including its Tahara plant, due to a surge in infections in Vietnam which had constrained the supply of parts, the Nikkei reported earlier.

A person familiar with the matter said Toyota had also suspended production at one assembly line in Guangzhou, China, which it operates with its Chinese joint-venture partner Guangzhou Automobile Group.

In Thailand, Toyota suspended production last month at three factories due to a pandemic-related parts shortage.

-AAP