Toyota Increases Production Cuts In Japan

Facing sluggish sales and rising inventories, Toyota said it has decided to halt production in April for three days at 11 factories in Japan.

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota, the world's largest automaker, said Friday it will further suspend production in Japan to cope with slumping global demand and mounting inventories of unsold vehicles.

Toyota Motor Corp. is already shutting down output for 14 days at its 11 domestic plants during the first three months of this year.

But facing sluggish sales and rising inventories, Toyota spokesman Yuta Kaga said the company has decided to halt production again in April for three days at the 11 factories.

"We are responding to demand in the global market, and also need to reduce our inventories," Kaga said. Toyota's domestic output in the January-March period in 2009 is seen at 520,000, down 54 percent from the same period last year.

Kaga declined to give details on Toyota's domestic output plan in May, but said the company forecast a rise in production in the month due to an expected fall in inventories and the launch of a new model.

Earlier in the month, Toyota said it will incur a net loss of 350 billion yen ($3.72 billion) for the fiscal year through March due to plunging demand for cars, especially in the U.S., and the strong yen, which cuts its overseas earnings.

The dismal forecast, the first annual net loss since 1950, was a stunning reversal from the record 1.72 trillion yen profit it posted the previous year.

Toyota is also cutting North American production and instituting a shorter workweek at some U.S. plants due to plummeting sales. The Japanese auto giant said last week it will offer buyouts to about 18,000 workers in the U.S.

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