Toyota Motor Corp.’s efforts to stockpile enough chips and other key components to ride out supply disruptions only protected the company so long before it too succumbed to the shortages eviscerating automakers.
The manufacturer will suspend production at all of its 14 Japanese assembly plants for various lengths of time through next month. The impact of these cuts will be harshest in September, with Toyota slashing its production plan by 40 percent, though risks will carry forward beyond next month.
It’s the latest sign even the best supply chain planning is proving no match for a pandemic that virtually ground the auto industry to a halt a year ago and has plagued efforts to restore production. Toyota and BMW -- two manufacturers least scathed by the semiconductor shortage in the first half -- have now warned of significant blows to their operations in the coming months.
“This isn’t a Toyota-only problem,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, a fund manager at Saison Asset Management Co. “But the fact that this is happening at Toyota means that recent worries about the supply chain in Asia being disrupted by the spread of the coronavirus are materializing. There are a lot of companies manufacturing goods in Asia that could be impacted.”