Toyota Tells North American Plants to Brace for Shutdowns

March 23, 2011
'Production interruptions' likely, company says.

Toyota today told its 13 manufacturing facilities in North America to prepare for possible shutdowns.

"We told our team members today, because they've been asking us and they've been following the events in Japan, and they've wanted to know what the condition of our suppliers is," said Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota's North American operations. "And we told them that it's likely we're going to be facing some production interruptions here in North America."

Toyota hasn't announced which plants will be affected, or for how long, as the company continues to gather information on the extent of the damage to its supply chain.

"Our assessment of suppliers in Japan is massive," Goss told IndustryWeek. "When you look at the various tiers, there are hundreds of companies -- not just our direct suppliers, but their suppliers.

"And in addition, our North American supply base, which is about 500 companies, also gets some parts and materials from Japan. So there are layers to this."

Goss emphasized, as Toyota has in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan earlier this month, that "we're still building cars and trucks everywhere in North America."

"Because we still have a pipeline of parts made in Japan that were already in ports or on ships or trucks or trains," Goss said.

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Follow IndustryWeek senior editor Josh Cable on Twitter at @JCable_IW .

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