Toyota says that production in North America returned to normal levels after Japan quake

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 15, 2011

Six months after the earthquake in Japan, Toyota Motor Corp.'s assembly and component factories in North America have resumed normal output, the company disclosed on Tuesday. The recovery in light vehicle production at six of the company's North American assembly plants is beyond what was initially expected.

Shortly after the disaster in Japan, the company warned that it may resume normal production levels only in November or December. Most of the automakers in Japan, primarily Honda Motor Co. and Toyota, were experiencing low sales and profits due to the earthquake.

Before the disaster, the U.S. market share of Japan-based vehicle manufacturers drifted about 40 percent. In the months after the disaster, the share declined to about 30 percent.

The company's profits in its fiscal first quarter, which is the period greatly affected by the quake, dropped 99 percent to 1.16 billion yen. The company as well as other Japanese carmakers took action by adjusting production schedules at their assembly and engine plants in order to preserve inventory.

In June, output of eight out of Toyota's 12 North American-built car models returned to normal levels. These vehicles are the Venza, Sequoia, Sienna, Highlander, Matrix, Corolla, Camry and Avalon.

The company's announcement on Tuesday will mean that the production of Lexus RX 350, RAV 4, Tundra and Toyota Tacoma is at their normal levels also. On another note, a spokesperson for Honda has disclosed that output of the carmaker's North American-built cars, except for the all-new Civic, has returned to normal levels. Honda has not indicated when it expects Civic production to achieve planned targets.

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