TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said it’s working with parts makers to restore supplies of 30 types of components still affected by the nation’s record earthquake in March.
After the disaster, 659 facilities mostly belonging to second- and lower-tier suppliers were damaged, Senior Managing Director Yasumori Ihara said today at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Toyota City, Japan. The automaker has a team of 150 investigators working to reduce the shortage of parts, he said.
The company has reduced the number of critical parts in short supply, mostly semiconductor and rubber materials, from 500 at the end of March, Ihara said.
Toyota said last week it expects profit to fall 31 percent to 280 billion yen ($3.5 billion) this fiscal year as damage to suppliers limits car production and the strong yen erodes earnings from exports. With output restrained, Toyota may be surpassed by General Motors Co. in overall sales this year.
Global vehicle sales may drop to 7.24 million this fiscal year from 7.308 million last year, the company said on June 10.
Toyota will return to normal production at its North American factories in September, Bob Carter, group vice president for U.S. sales, said Thursday. Global output may be restored to normal levels by October, a month earlier than previously announced, the Nikkei newspaper said this week.
The carmaker’s plants are running at 70 percent of planned levels this month, up from 50 percent in April and May.
In Japan, delivery of new cars is averaging two to three months, with the new Prius alpha wagon taking up to a year, Executive Vice President Yoichi Ichimaru said.
The company will pursue its long-term growth strategy in developed and emerging markets as outlined by a plan released two days before the March 11 earthquake, even as it works to recover operations, President Akio Toyoda said today at the meeting.
That includes developing next-generation hybrid, fuel-cell and electric cars, as well as introducing new compact and hybrid models in emerging markets, he said.
Industrywide global car sales may total 78 million vehicles this year, with emerging markets exceeding 40 million, Executive Vice President Yukitoshi Funo said at the same meeting.
Toyota, which is basing this year’s profit forecast on an exchange rate of 82 yen to the dollar, expects the stronger Japanese currency to cut profit by 100 billion yen. The yen gained 15 percent in 2010 and soared to a postwar high of 76.25 per dollar on March 17.
The carmaker, which built 45 percent of its vehicles in Japan last year, may need to produce more abroad because of the yen’s strength, Chief Financial Officer Satoshi Ozawa said last month.
Toyota’s ratio of domestic production is higher than those of Japanese rivals. Nissan Motor Co. made 25 percent of its vehicles in Japan last fiscal year, while Honda Motor Co. produced 26 percent of its cars at home.
While Toyota is raising production capacity of plants in emerging markets, particularly in China and India, the company will maintain production and development in Japan of “leading edge” technology and models, such as Lexus and hybrid cars, Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi said.