TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. plans to buy more steel from Chinese and South Korean steel makers in the expectation that steel supplies in Japan will remain tight for a long time, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported on Friday.
The newspaper said the world's second biggest car maker would start using steel sheet made by South Korea's POSCO for doors and major exterior parts by as early as 2006.
Toyota now gets about 80 percent of steel sheet it uses in its Japanese plants from Nippon Steel Corp. and JFE Steel Corp. and limits the use of POSCO steel to minor areas such as interior parts, the paper added.
On Thursday, Nissan Motor Co., Japan's second biggest auto maker, said it would stop production at some of its car plants for five days due to a steel shortage caused by burgeoning demand in Japan and neighboring China.
Nissan said the suspensions would result in lost production of about 25,000 vehicles, which would be made up early next year.
Nissan, which also procures steel from Nippon Steel and JFE, has also asked POSCO for emergency supplies.
The paper also said Toyota would expand its ties to China's Baosteel to ensure stable steel supply in China, where the automaker is increasing production.
Toyota had said it was not considering expanding its steel supplier base and that it was trying to deal with the shortage through efficiencies to avoid shutdowns.
A Toyota spokesman said he was checking the newspaper report.