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Toyota Official Says Parts Shortage Hardly Noticeable at Georgetown Plant

It’s been more than a month since production increased at the Toyota plant in Georgetown, Kentucky after a weeks-long parts shortage.

The shortage was caused by the April earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which severed and disrupted supply chains. All of Toyota’s 13 North American plants saw production drop as a result.

“We were fortunate that we had localized so much of our production here in the United States over the last many years. In fact, when it comes to building the Camry, the domestic content of that vehicle is over 80%,” says factory spokesman Rick Hesterberg.

But production has not yet returned to pre-disaster levels. Hesterberg says that’s a symptom of lower demand rather than a lack of parts.

“If you came into our plant and toured our facility, you’d see a normal flow of operations,” he says. “Every plant goes through different phases and terms of volume levels and it’s all part of market demand.”

The plant was dark last week for routine maintenance not associated with the parts shortage.

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Production Increases at Georgetown Toyota Plant

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.

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Toyota to Halt Production for Several Days

As a shortage of parts from Japan continues, the Toyota Motor Company will halt production at its North American plants this month.

Plants will not produce vehicles on the 15th, 18th, 21st, 22nd and 25th. However the Georgetown Kentucky plant will be active on the 21st.

It’s possible the parts shortage will continue beyond this month, and Toyota spokesperson Tania Saldana says the five days later this month are the only scheduled so far.

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Toyota Halts Production Again at Georgetown Plant

A production line that makes Toyota Camrys and Avalons in Georgetown, Kentucky will shut down one day later this month because of lagging sales of the models. About 2,500 people work on the line.

Plant spokesperson Rick Hesterberg says it might not be the end of production halts.

“We are looking at some other potential dates, a couple in March, but we’re not ready to confirm them, because we’re not sure we’re going to need to,” says Hesterberg. “but this is just a reaction to customer demand, and to allow those inventories to level back off.”

Hesterberg says the February 26th shut-down is the result of Toyota’s 8.5-million vehicle recall.

The line was also shut down for a week earlier this month because of a sales suspension.

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Toyota Cuts Production, Georgetown Plant Included

Car sales continue to decline and that has Toyota Motor Corporation changing its production schedule to offset an inventory surplus. Many of the company’s North American plants will see schedule changes, including its operation in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Spokesperson Rick Hesterberg says the national recession is taking its toll.

“We’ve seen high inventory levels caused by slow industry sales and because of that we’ve had to come up with more non-production days, which is going to vary by assembly line, and by model, and by plant,” says Hesterberg.

For the Georgetown plant, it means additional shut-down days. They’ll scale back production on four assembly lines, which will halt production for 12 to 20 days over the next three months.

They’re also cutting-costs in other ways.

“We’ve limited travel, we’re cut overtime, we’ve done a lot of things to reduce our utility needs and so on, so we’ve done a good job of containing our costs and reducing, now we’re just hoping this economy turns around,” says Hesterberg.

He says no permanent employees are being laid off at this time.

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Toyota to Slow Production at Georgetown Plant

The downturn in the national economy means a slowdown in production at the Toyota Manufacturing Plant in Georgetown, Kentucky.

The plant makes the Camry, Avalon and Solara, as well as the new Venza crossover and employs about seven-thousand permanent workers. The production lines for the Camry and Avalon will be pared back starting in mid-December. Plant spokesperson Rick Hesterberg says they’ve been given no indication of when production might pick back up.

“We’re hopeful that sometime in the next year, that we’ll see something positive come of it, but really it’s anybody’s guess right now,” says Hesterberg.

About half the plant’s 500-temporary workers will be laid off in the next couple of months as well. Camry sales were down 13-percent in October.