Toyota Motor Corp. has little interest in finding alternative sources for parts that are in short supply after the earthquake in Japan, the company's chief manufacturing executive said today.
Toyota Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi, speaking on a global conference call with financial analysts, said the automaker is satisfied with single-sourcing to suppliers in Japan and will continue to do so as it tries to restore output around the world.
Niimi, who is in charge of Toyota's production control, production engineering and manufacturing, said that Toyota's reliance on single suppliers typically occurs at lower levels of its supply chain.
"We have been multiple-sourcing among different Tier 1 suppliers," he told analysts who were probing to learn more about how Toyota will resume full production in the aftermath of the devastating March 11 earthquake.
Last week, Toyota said that production of 150 critical parts was so impaired by the natural disaster that it will take until November or December to return to normal levels of vehicle production around the world.
"However, some of those 150 critical parts mentioned used content or subparts that have been concentrated in Tier 3 through Tier 4. And those are the levels in which a sole source is sometimes relied upon," Niimi said through a Japanese translator.
"Especially critical was microcomputers and rubber-related parts, and those were sourced from a single supplier.
"However, those suppliers are renowned for very high engineering capabilities and therefore we do not think that it will be easy for us to switch to other sources."
Niimi repeated statements from Toyota that its factories in Japan are operating at half of their normal output because of supply chain problems, while plants outside Japan are running at 40 percent of normal.
He said that the levels will rise in July in Japan, and in August outside Japan, with all factories returning to normal output in November or December.