Toyota aims to restore Japan output early 2012: source

Wed Nov 9, 2011 10:34am EST
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By Kentaro Sugiyama

TOYKO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp has told parts suppliers it aims to restore Japanese production to normal levels by early 2012, recovering from the impact of Thai flooding that hit suppliers, a source familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

A Toyota spokeswoman declined to comment on the plans, although the company said on Wednesday its three Thai factories would resume partial operations on November 21 as it grapples with the impact of Thailand's worst flooding in 50 years.

Japan's top automaker has halted production at the three plants in its southeast Asia production hub since October 10 after flooding affected suppliers, forcing it to reduce production from October 24 in Japan, where output is running at 70 to 80 percent of planned levels.

Toyota aims to secure alternative parts by the end of this year and return output to originally planned levels at the start of 2012, the source said, adding Toyota was also looking at how it might restore production from overseas plants at about the same pace as its recovery in Japan.

The plan is in line with analysts' expectations of a relatively swift restoration of production after Toyota said the disruption would not be as severe after as the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"Our view was that it would take 1-1/2 to two months to resolve supply chain problems caused by flooding in Thailand," Bank of America Merrill Lynch auto analyst Takaki Nakanishi wrote in a research note.

"Our impression was that the company would make back much of the production lost in October-December before the end of the business year (on March 31)."