Mill Explosion To Halt Toyota’s Japanese Production Next Week

Toyota will shut down production at its Japanese auto plants next week after a steel plant explosion in the country led to a parts shortage.

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Toyota will shut down production at its Japanese auto plants next week after a steel plant explosion in the country led to a parts shortage.

Company officials said that inventory from Aichi Steel Corp. will be sufficient to last through Saturday, but that the Jan. 8 explosion at an Aichi plant would force the company to cease operations on Monday.

Toyota said in a statement that it plans to reopen its Japanese plants on Feb. 15 and that it would evaluate other options -- including shifting to alternative Aichi lines or buying from other steelmakers -- "to minimize the impact of this incident on vehicle production."

The world's largest automaker produces about 40 percent of its vehicles in its native country. Reports indicated that the Prius and some Lexus models are likely to be impacted by the shutdown.

Production outside Japan will not be affected by the explosion.

The shutdown is the company's first in Japan since 2011, when its supply chain was disrupted in the wake of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

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