Toyota production recovers slowly after disasters in Japan

Toyota Prius Wagon 2012. Photo / Supplied
Toyota Prius Wagon 2012. Photo / Supplied

Japan's car industry is still working with the after-effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown as major power brown-outs affect factories trying to return to normal production, says Toyota chief executive Alistair Davis.

He says 237 of Toyota's 600-odd suppliers were affected by the disaster, which cut 17,000 part numbers from Toyota stock. "Of those, 500 were critical. We analysed what was affected by those parts and ended up with a spread sheet 5000 columns wide and 5000 deep."

With 40 per cent of New Zealand cars coming from Japanese factories and 70 per cent from Japanese brands, it's no wonder New Zealand distributors suffered. Toyota - up 25.9 per cent in the first quarter - dropped 30.2 in the second but is creeping back up.

Davis says his initial estimate that TNZ would lose $300 million of revenue this year has been revised: "We'll have lost less than $100 million by the end of the year, but Toyota worldwide will have lost a million vehicles."

The company could have cut its losses by seeking alternative suppliers. Davis says given the bad publicity around recalls in recent times, "Toyota decided we'd rather lose the production and sales than take risks with quality".

But production is ramping up despite power shortages, with shifts on overtime, and factories working weekends and taking weekdays off to spread electricity demand.


- Herald on Sunday

- Herald on Sunday

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