Japanese auto companies extend plant shutdowns

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Japanese auto companies are extending shutdowns of plants affected by the country’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, but some parts factories in Japan will resume production later this week.

Toyota Motor Corp. says it will extend production halts at Japanese plants through March 22, affecting about 95,000 vehicles. The company suspended production beginning March 14.

But the world’s biggest automaker is resuming production Thursday at factories that make replacement parts for vehicles already on the road.

Nissan Motor Co. is resuming production at two plants on Thursday and Friday for as long as its inventory of parts lasts. Three other Nissan plants are halting production until Sunday.

Automakers in Japan have shut production to assess damage at factories, ports and roads.