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US Toyota Dealers Warned to Prepare for Tighter Supply

Toyota Motor Corporation has told its US dealer network that disruptions to the assembly process resulting from last month’s earthquake in Japan could result in a lack of auto supply during this year’s third quarter. Toyota, which is still the world’s largest carmaker, will make cars at a “significantly reduced levels,” Bob Carter, group vice president of U.S. sales, said in a memorandum to dealers.

While Toyota, Honda and Nissan reported damage at Japanese plants from the March 11 disaster, all three automakers have cut output in Japan and abroad as they rebuild stockpiles of parts from suppliers whose operations were disrupted.

Last week, the automaker announced that it will suspend production of cars, engines and parts at its American facilities for five days this month because of a shortage of Japan-sourced parts. However, Toyota wants to start all of its Japanese facilities by April 18th at half of their capacity, it said last week.

“What we don’t know are vehicle production levels for May through July,”
Carter said in the memo. “The potential exists that supply of new vehicles could be significantly impacted this summer.”

Toyota probably has a sufficient supply of vehicles until the middle of May, said Jesse Toprak, an industry analyst at TrueCar.com, a website based in Santa Monica, California, that tracks auto market trends.

“Beyond that, cars made solely in Japan and that get exceptionally high mileage -- the Prius, for example -- will have very limited availability,”
Toprak said, according to Bloomberg.

Despite resuming output as quickly as possible, Toyota may lose production of 35,000 cars and light trucks at North American factories between March 11 and April 25 because of production cutbacks, Shiori Hashimoto, a company spokeswoman in Tokyo, said yesterday.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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