TOKYO -– Toyota Motor Corp., hit hard by last month's Japanese earthquake, says it will take at least until November for production to return to normal – overseas and at home – but that factory suspensions have bottomed out and output will start rebounding this summer.
The announcement makes the world's biggest automaker the first to publicly forecast a return to pre-quake levels and offers a peek at how long it may take other Japan carmakers to recover.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said today he outlined the timeframe – despite its being long-range and vague – to help dealers with planning. Until now, they have been hamstrung in pitching their products and handling customers because of looming uncertainty about inventories.
"By telling dealers the timing of the recovery, they can have a better conversation with their customers," Toyoda said at a news conference. "Dealers right now cannot talk to their customers about delivery timing. They can't talk about specifics. Sales people are having a difficult time."