Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's biggest carmaker, said it will restart production at domestic auto plants tomorrow after they were shut down due to a lack of parts following earthquake damage to a supplier's factories.
Toyota will restart production at 20 lines out of a total of 31 domestic lines for one day, said Kayo Doi, a Toyota spokeswoman.
Production beyond tomorrow has yet to be determined, Doi said. Toyota will lose production of 55,000 vehicles through Tuesday because of the shutdown.
The carmaker stopped production in Japan on July 19 after an earthquake damaged facilities at piston-ring supplier Riken Corp three days earlier. Japanese automakers limit inventory to cut costs, preferring to take delivery of components only when needed.
"The recent event highlighted the risk of a too lean supply structure," Tatsuya Mizuno, director at Fitch Ratings in Tokyo said in a report on Monday.
Fitch Ratings also said production cuts won't affect its ratings and outlook on the Japanese automakers because they can catch up with production as Riken resumes output.
The carmaker reiterated its 2007 global target of selling 9.34 million vehicles at its group, which includes Daihatsu Motor Co and Hino Motors Ltd. Excluding the two subsidiaries, Toyota expects to sell 8.4 million vehicles.
"In Japan, sales were quite difficult in the first half, but in the second half, we hope to increase demand by introducing new models,'' said President Katsuaki Watanabe at a Tokyo press conference.
Honda Motor Co, Japan's second-largest carmaker, will restart production at three factories on Tuesday, the company said in a statement on Monday. Mazda Motor Corp, a third owned by Ford Motor Co., will restart production at its factory in Yamaguchi Prefecture tonight and at its plant in Hiroshima prefecture tomorrow, said spokeswoman Yukari Hara.
Daihatsu Motor Co, Japan's largest minicar maker, restarted production at two plants today and will resume operations at another tomorrow, said spokesman Shozo Shimizu.
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd's spokesman Kenta Matsumoto said the company may restart production of minicars on July 25.
Riken restarted partial production this morning. The Tokyo- based company is Japan's largest maker of piston rings and seal rings, key parts used in engines and transmissions.
Riken closed 11 parts factories after the earthquake with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale. Toyota has dispatched more than 200 engineers to help Riken resume production.