WASHINGTON -- Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. is concerned about the well-being of at least 100 suppliers, company President Jim Lentz said today.
Lentz testified before a presidential task force on the auto industry. Toyota asked for the session to remind the Obama administration that the company is an important part of the industry and that its leaders want to be viewed as problem solvers, Lentz said after his appearance.
Toyota has about 500 U.S. suppliers. At least 60 percent of them also make parts for other automakers, including the Detroit 3.
Witnesses have told the task force that the ties between automakers and suppliers could cause shutdowns to spread from financially strapped companies to those that are just getting by during the recession.
This is a big industry issue, not just a Detroit 3 issue, Lentz told reporters. Toyota has real concerns about 20 to 30 suppliers whose shutdowns could threaten Toyota production, Lentz added.
The company is arranging work-arounds but could be forced to go a month or so without a crucial part or component, he said.
Lentz said the task force has a good grasp of the industrys situation, but its members gave no clues about what or when they will decide.
General Motors and Chrysler LLC say they need more federal loans this month. They seek as much as $21.6 billion, on top of the $17.4 billion they have received. Suppliers say they need as much as $18.5 billion in aid.
Lentz said he is concerned about what the shutdown of a Detroit 3 company could mean to dealers. He noted that about 45 percent of Toyota dealers also have a GM franchise.