TOKYO -- One of the two plants that build the Toyota Prius hybrid car will close for perhaps a week due to a fire. The damage could reduce exports of the Prius, which already has a waiting list of several months in the United States.
A fire broke out at Toyota Auto Body Co.'s Fujimatsu plant in Kariya City on Monday evening. The fire occurred in the area where car bodies dry after painting. It was brought under control late that same night.
The factory builds the Prius as well as several Japan-market minivans, including the Estima, Noah and Ipsum. Toyota Auto Body is a member of the Toyota group. Toyota Motor Corp. directly owns 56 percent of Toyota Auto Body.
The majority of Prius cars are built at Toyota's Tsutsumi plant. Toyota spokesman Tomomi Imai would not say what percentage of Prius output is built at the Fujimatsu plant. He also declined to say how great the impact of the fire will be on Prius exports. "I would not say it will have zero impact," he said.
Imai said Toyota had not been told by Toyota Auto Body exactly how long production would be halted. The Associated Press quoted Toyota Auto Body spokeswoman Hiroko Kojima as saying production probably would not resume for a week.
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