TOKYO – Toyota's quake-hammered Miyagi assembly plant, which makes the Yaris small car for export to the United States, is expected to be offline for at least another month.
Workers have completed repairs at the factory and restored electricity, but the facility cannot get supplies of natural gas, a person familiar with the situation said.
The assessment underscores the long road facing Toyota and other Japanese automakers in bringing plants back into full operation following the deadly quake, which killed more than 11,000 people, ruptured gas lines, shutdown electric grids and snarled logistics across half the country.
Toyota has resumed limited Japanese production of three hybrid models, including the popular Toyota Prius, but the rest of its 18 domestic assembly plants remain shuttered indefinitely.
A Toyota supplier said his company was informed by a Toyota purchasing executive that the hybrid lines are operating at only half their capacity.
Most plants still down
While the Yaris plant is expected to be down until at least late April, the rest of the automaker's domestic plants -- making up the bulk of the Toyota and Lexus lineups -- are expected to remain closed until at least April 14, the person said, citing the Toyota executive. Reuters has reported, also citing a supplier, that Toyota has informed parts makers that widespread production won't begin until at least April 11.
Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett could not confirm a timeline for reopening operations in Miyagi or other assembly plants. The only production underway this week is for the Toyota Prius and Lexus HS250h and Lexus CT 200h hybrids.
That output was scheduled to take a break today and resume on Thursday.