Toyota to Cut China Output by 50-70% Until June 3

The total production shortfall for North America, Europe, Japan and China until June 3 will now come to 540,000 units.

Toyota said on April 20 that a parts shortage is causing a decrease in production at its Chinese plants. The company has previously announced production disruptions domestically and in the United States, European Union and Australia because of the crisis.

A Toyota spokesman in Japan said the slowdown would bring a production shortfall of about 80,000 vehicles during the period.

"As we are producing, we are keeping a careful eye on the parts situation," said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco. "We are doing the best we can to return the situation back to normal as soon as possible."

The total production shortfall for North America, Europe, Japan and China until June 3 will now come to 540,000 units, said Nolasco, excluding data for Australia, the Middle East and South America.

The 2011 global production target before the quake was 7.7 million units.

Toyota's announcement came on the day Japan said its trade surplus slumped almost 80% in March, the first drop in 16 months, because of the impact of last month's earthquake-tsunami.

Many key component manufacturers in Japan are based in the worst-hit northeastern regions, where facilities were damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake or inundated by the giant wave that followed.

Toyota president and chief executive officer Akio Toyoda said at the Shanghai auto show that "due to the situation in Japan, I hesitated to come to China right up until the last minute."

The supply shortages have had a ripple effect across the global auto industry, with companies shutting plants or slowing production in Britain, the United States, Turkey, France, Australia, Poland and the Philippines.

In the U.S. Toyota in the United States said it would continue to suspend operations on Mondays and Fridays through June 3 and would run production at half of normal levels on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. It will also suspend U.S. operations for the week of May 30 -- in conjunction with the Memorial Day holiday -- and will suspend Canadian operations the week of May 23 in conjunction with the Victoria Day holiday.

Toyota on April 18 resumed operations at all its domestic plants, with production volume still at around 50 percent due to a parts shortage.

Amid Japan's ongoing nuclear crisis, the auto giant said it had begun measuring the radiation levels of its export vehicles, parts for overseas assembly and service parts and found no abnormalities.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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