Toyota Motor, the world’s largest automaker, plans to cut production worldwide 40 percent in September because of a shortage of computer chips that the company had avoided being hurt by until now.
The move will affect 14 plants in Japan and reduce output by about 140,000 cars and trucks next month, the company said. In the United States, Toyota expects to produce about 80,000 fewer vehicles next month than it had previously planned. The company is also cutting production in Europe, China and other countries.
“Due to Covid-19 and unexpected events with our supply chain, Toyota is experiencing additional shortages that will affect production at most of our North American plants,” the company said in a statement. “While the situation remains fluid and complex, our manufacturing and supply chain teams have worked diligently to develop countermeasures to minimize the impact on production.”
The company is also expecting North American production in August to be 60,000 to 90,000 vehicles fewer than originally planned. Toyota said the production cuts were not expected to affect North American employment, at least for now.
Several months ago, many major manufacturers, including Volkswagen, General Motors and Ford Motor, began idling plants because the semiconductor industry struggled to restore production of auto chips after last year’s pandemic-related shutdowns. But Toyota was relatively unaffected because it has been keeping large stocks of chips and other components after earlier supply problems after an 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Japan.
Many automakers have been expecting chip supplies to improve in the second half of the year, but Toyota’s announcement suggests the problem could persist for some time. Next week Ford plans to idle a plant near Kansas City, Mo. that makes its highly profitable F-150 pick up truck because of a shortage of components that include computer chips. And G.M. stopped most of its truck production in North America for parts of this month.
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