Toyota cuts UK car production due to parts shortage

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Media captionWatch: Tony Walker of Toyota UK says 'we just don't have the parts'

Toyota, the world's biggest carmaker, has said it will cut output at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire to the equivalent of three half-days a week.

The reduced work schedule from 3 May until the end of the month is to manage the current shortage of car parts.

Separately, Honda said a 50% cut in output at its Swindon plant would remain in place until the end of May.

Carmakers have been facing a shortage of parts due to the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Global production shortfall

Output at the Toyota Burnaston factory will stop entirely on two days a week, with workers agreeing to do half-shifts on the other three days.

"The combination of this and flexible working arrangements will help ensure that we are able to quickly respond to the demand for our products as soon as parts are available," Toyota said in a statement.

The company said it would be 12,600 cars behind schedule in the UK by the end of May.

Tony Walker of Toyota Manufacturing UK said workers at the UK plant would remain on full pay and described the feeling amongst staff as "very positive".

"Everyone understands this is a unique situation. Usually our production is determined by demand, but demand is still there," Mr Walker told the BBC.

"There is an understanding that this is because of the terrible situation in Japan and we just can't get the parts," he said.

Workers will make up the time at a later date.

Components centre

Toyota also announced plans on Wednesday to cut production in North America by 70% and to reduce output in China by 50-70%, until 3 June.

The firm has previously said it will also curb production at factories in Turkey, Poland, France and Australia.

The area of eastern Japan which is an important source of electrical components for the car industry has been badly hit by the earthquake in March.

The company has been able to resume production at all of its Japanese assembly plants, although these are also affected by the parts shortages.

"As we are producing, we are keeping a careful eye on the parts situation," said Paul Nolasco, a spokesman for the manufacturer.

"We are doing the best we can to return the situation back to normal as soon as possible."

The company now faced a total production shortfall of 540,000 cars from North America, Europe, Japan and China for the period up to 3 June, he said.

That is equivalent to 7% of Toyota's global production target of 7.7 million units for 2011.

Delivery delays

Other car companies have also announced their own production cut-backs because of the earthquake.

Nissan has closed its Sunderland plant from Good Friday until May Day, while Honda had to halve output at its Swindon factory earlier this month.

Honda said on Wednesday that full production at Swindon would not now resume until the end of May, and that delivery times for UK customers would be extended to eight weeks from the usual four.

Japan revealed earlier on Wednesday that its exports in March had fallen a surprise 2.2% compared with a year ago, largely due to the impact of the earthquake on manufacturers.

Car shipments were down 28% in the month.

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