Toyota Motor Corp. is scheduled to restart U.S. and Canadian assembly lines today, Feb. 8, a week after shutting down most of them to divert repair parts to dealers.
The production halt stopped Toyota Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Matrix, Avalon, Sequoia, Highlander and Tundra assembly in Kentucky, Indiana, Ontario and Texas. It also halted most engine and transmission production in Alabama and West Virginia, as well as just-in-time manufacturing for several of Toyota's North American suppliers.
The moves were part of Toyota's response to a safety recall of 2.3 million vehicles because of reports of unintended acceleration. Last week Toyota sought to remedy the problem by inserting a postage-stamp-size metal reinforcement bar into the accelerator pedal module to eliminate the risk of faulty pedal pres-sure.
Mike Goss, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, declined to estimate the number of Toyota's U.S. engineers and other personnel who had been involved in devising the solution in recent months.
"This has been a massive coordination effort between engineering, purchasing, production control, logistics and the counterparts for all of those groups at our plants" and Toyota's California sales and marketing headquarters, Goss said.
Toyota employs about 1,100 people at its Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., along with a production engineering staff in Erlanger, Ky.
"In addition to the reinforcement bar and redesigned-pedal issues, it takes incredible coordination just to shut down and restart production," Goss said.
He said an earlier plan to add a second shift of workers to Toyota's San Antonio plant on Feb. 22 has been delayed to March 1. The new hires need to make up a week of training lost when the plant went down this week.
To obtain the repair parts, Toyota turned to a different supplier than CTS Corp., the producer of the original accelerator pedal module. Toyota is using Grand Rapids Spring & Stamping Inc., a metal stamping Toyota supplier in Grand Rapids, Mich. The company spent last week producing tens of thousands of the repair parts daily, said Mike Michels, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.
"We expect that parts will be in good supply very soon," he said. "It's not a difficult part to manufacture."