This year’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a parts shortage that led to diminished production at Toyota Motor Company’s 13 American plants. It also damaged the automaker’s sales. And now, Toyota is now preparing to increase production and competition.
The Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky was more active during the parts shortage than most other domestic factories. And now, production will go back to 100 percent.
But that doesn’t mean it’ll be as busy as it was before the parts shortage. Overtime won’t be necessary and the line workers will turn out cars as fast as customers order them, which is slower than it was at the start of the year.
“It’s going to take a little more time, ” says company spokesperson Rick Hesterberg. “With a lot of the factors we’re looking at, not just with supplies but consumer confidence and a lot of other economic factors that go into adjusting your volume levels.”
Typically, the plant turns out about half a million vehicles every year.
“What number we end up doing at the end of the year, it’s hard for me to predict right now,” says Hesterberg. “We’re not going to build 500,000, I can tell you that. It’s fluctuated over the years from 370,000 up to 525,000.”
Many other automakers, particularly those with large operations in Japan, also saw sales slip after the earthquake.