Toyota takes another hit, suspending all assembly operations in Japan

Struggles continue for Toyota – still one of the world’s largest automakers for now – as its latest hiccup comes in the form of a production system malfunction. As a result, Toyota has had to halt all operations at its assembly plants throughout Japan, leaving local output frozen.

Toyota seems to have recently checked its spam folder and found all the emails about EVs becoming the mode of transportation of the future and is now playing catchup. Still, it remains one of the true laggards in EV adoption – especially for such a large and globally recognized operation.

We are starting to see the cracks in Toyota’s armor as Japan’s leading automaker recently began laying off staff in China because it can no longer compete in its competitive, EV-centric market. The automaker also had to recall 12,000 bZ3 EVs in the country a few days before that – never a good look, especially after the bZ4X recall last year.

A week later, however, Toyota reemerged with a new game plan to develop and build “competitive EVs” in China for the local market, but trying to catch up now feels like the equivalent of trying to hop aboard a bullet train while it’s still in motion.

China aside, Japan remains home to a large majority of Toyota’s vehicle production, including its entire domestic output. Following a system malfunction however, a large fraction of the automaker’s global production is at an absolute standstill.

Toyota Japan
Credit: Toyota Motor Corp.

One-third of Toyota’s global production halted in Japan

Earlier today, Toyota shared the scope of its suspended operations in Japan, which includes 14 separate facilities so far. According to calculations by Reuters, the standstill affects approximately 1/3 of the Japanese automaker’s global production. That being said, it is unclear at this time how much output will be lost due to this issue.

Toyota shared that the production system malfunction consists of a glitch that is preventing the company from ordering vehicle components for assembly. The cause of the glitch is currently under investigation, but a spokesperson for the company said it is unlikely that the malfunction is a cyberattack.

The first half of this year, Toyota was assembling roughly 13,500 vehicles per day at its Japan facilities. Some Toyota facilities in Japan may be able to restart operations sooner than others, but its still unclear when any of them will get the green light to resume actual vehicle production.

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