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Georgetown Toyota Plant to Return to Full Production in Summer

The Georgetown, Kentucky Toyota plant is one of several of the company’s North American manufacturing facilities that will resume full production this summer.

Production dropped to 30 percent in recent weeks due to the parts shortage caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The company has worked out arrangements to bring more parts to the U.S.

“Obviously there are still some issues that we’re trying to work with certain suppliers given parts availability. We’re working on resolving those, but in the meantime, it’s a huge success for us to have eight of our twelve North American-built vehicles return to 100% production,” says Toyota spokesperson Tania Saldana.

But spokesperson Rick Hesterberg says just because production will be at 100 percent in Georgetown, that doesn’t mean it will continue at the same pace it did before the earthquake.

“We mean 100 percent production by working two eight hour shifts, five days a week, but no overtime at this point,” he says. “So eight of our 12 models that we build in North American will be at 100 percent production. That includes those products will build at Georgetown; the Camry, Camry hybrid, Avalon, and Venza.”

On average, production of Toyota vehicles in North America will be at 70 percent through the summer. Company officials declined to comment on production of the Prius hybrid, which is made in Japan.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Stu Johnson contributed to this report

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Toyota Officials Say North American Plants Will Likely Stop Production

A Toyota Motor Company spokesperson says reports from Monday afternoon about impending plant shutdowns were not entirely accurate.

Jim Wiseman says North American Toyota manufacturers will likely face a shortage of parts from Japan, and that will likely lead to some or all of the 13 factories halting production until new parts arrive, but no further decisions have been made.

“We’ve said it’s likely and we continue to think that,” he says. “But beyond that, we don’t really have anything to add at this point until we’re sure how to deal with shortages that may occur.”

Wiseman says it’s not known how long any potential shutdowns will last. That depends on how severe the parts shortage is.

“All automakers use tier one supplies that directly send us parts. And those suppliers, in turn, use tier two or tier three suppliers tat supply them. So this is a very complicated situation and we’re talking about thousands of suppliers if you look down to tier two or tier three and so forth,” he says.

Wiseman says no layoffs are planned, and workers at shut down factories will still be able to show up for work and receive additional training. Workers may also take vacation or unpaid leave during any breaks in production. Wiseman further says many dealerships have ample stocks of Toyotas, and a shortage of vehicles cannot be predicted at this time.