Toyota said it was likely to happen, and now the automaker has made it official.
Toyota today announced that its North American vehicle plants will run on a reduced schedule over the next few weeks, due to parts shortages caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Production at its 14 North American vehicle plants will be suspended on April 15, 18, 21, 22 and 25, according to the automaker. However, its largest North American plant, in Georgetown, Ky., will operate on April 21.
Most of the company's engine and component plants in North America will follow the same schedule, Toyota said.
When the plants are idle, Toyota said it will continue to provide employment for its approximately 25,000 regular North American team members.
Employees not required to work may report to work for training and plant-improvement activities, use vacation or take unpaid time off, the company said.
"The situation in Japan affects many automakers and many other industries. Extraordinary efforts are underway to help suppliers recover," said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America. "We are slowing down to conserve parts yet maintain production as much as possible. We appreciate the flexibility of our team members, suppliers and dealers as we work through these issues."