Toyota: Temporary plant closures are likely in April

By Bruce Schreiner/The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that it’s inevitable that the company will be forced to temporarily shut down all of its North American factories because of parts shortages due to the earthquake that hit Japan on March 11.
The temporary shutdowns are likely to take place later this month, affecting 25,000 workers, but no layoffs are expected, spokesman Mike Goss said. Just how long the shutdowns last or whether all 13 of Toyota’s factories will be affected the same is unknown and depends on when parts production can restart in Japan, he said.
So far the North American plants have been using parts in their inventory or relying on those that were shipped before the earthquake, Goss noted. But those supplies are running low.
Toyota only gets about 15 percent of its parts from Japan for cars and trucks built in North America, “but still you have to have them all to build the vehicles,” Goss said.
Toyota has about 500 companies supplying parts in North America, but many of them get components from Japan that might not be available, he said. During the shutdowns, workers will focus on training and reviewing operations for ways to improve. They also can take vacation or time off without pay.