Economy, Auto

Toyota to Restart China Plant After Blasts

Toyota to Restart China Plant After Blasts
Toyota to Restart China Plant After Blasts

Toyota Motor Corp. is beginning trial production of cars at the China plants that were shut after explosions in the city of Tianjin, the first step in reopening the facilities following a two-week closure, people familiar with the matter said.

According to Bloomberg, workers have returned to the plants and Toyota is preparing to resume output on a trial basis before making a decision this week on whether to resume full production, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private plans.

A test run of about 100 cars will start today, one of the people said.

Production has been shut down at Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co., the Japanese carmaker’s local affiliate, since the Aug. 12 blasts at a chemical storage site in the northern Chinese port city.

The explosions killed at least 123 people and injured 67 Toyota workers who live in the area.

About 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles were also damaged.

Toyota has not made a decision yet on when it will restart production, Ryo Sakai, a company spokesman, said by phone.

The carmaker has said its local operations will restart once it is able to confirm the safety of its facilities and the surrounding area.

Toyota rose 2.9% to 6,920 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo trading, the biggest gain since Dec. 19. Japan’s benchmark Topix index climbed 3.2 percent.

The Tianjin disaster took a broader toll on the auto industry, damaging 2,700 Volkswagen AG vehicles, shutting a nearby Hyundai Motor Co. logistics center and forcing Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to divert car shipments to Shanghai.

The warehouse that exploded stored about 1,300 tons of oxide compounds, Xinhua reported, citing Tianjin Vice Mayor He Shushan.