Toyota currently has “good levels” of inventory but it’s possible that its dealers will not have sufficient inventories from May through July and maybe even further.
Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter sent a letter to dealers dated April 10, telling them that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. cannot guarantee that the inventories on those months will be enough. Carter said that there’s a possibility that the supply will be “significantly impacted” this summer.
Carter emphasized that since the March 11 Japan earthquake, its Toyota inventory levels have remained strong, with over 300,000 units in dealer stock.
This figure is much higher than the 72,000 units that were left after the cash for clunkers program. Toyota announced last week that its plants in the U.S. will be operating on only three days each week.
Meanwhile, its Japanese plants will operate at only 50% on April 18 to 27 and they will be closed through May 10 as part of Japan's "Golden Week" national holiday. As some of its supply of paints come from Japan, Toyota could only offer a limited choice of colors.
Toyota's manufacturing divisions are presently working for paint supply to match vehicle demand. As a result, dealers can’t ask for paint color changes late in the ordering and allocation process.
Toyota's distribution department told dealers that allocations will be sharply restricted as only vehicles that have confirmed production or have been loaded into a ship will be distributed.