Toyota says that all its models will return to their normal production schedules by November or December 2011. The company’s factories are currently operating at 50 percent capacity in Japan and 30 percent capacity in the U.S., due to continuing supply shortages in the wake of a March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Production will begin to ramp-up at factories in Japan by July, and at U.S.-based plants by August — there’s a one-month delay because parts must be shipped here from Japan. Toyota is struggling to locate about 150 components — primarily electronics, rubber, and paint materials — necessary for vehicle production, and may consider using substitute parts to help resume production sooner.
Even though the factories are running at a drastically reduced rate, no workers have been laid off in Toyota’s American facilities. Instead, employees will use their time for training and “plant improvement.”
“Our entire company is committed to solving the problems before us,” Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at a press conference in Japan. “I sincerely apologize for the enormous delay in [vehicle] delivery.”