Economy, Auto

Toyota Closes Temporarily, Buys Daihatsu Out

Toyota Closes Temporarily, Buys Daihatsu OutToyota Closes Temporarily, Buys Daihatsu Out

Toyota Motor Corp. will suspend production at all assembly lines in Japan for six days this month due to a parts shortage, hitting exports of such cars as Lexus luxury vehicles and their standard range of vehicles.

The shutdown comes after a Jan. 8 explosion at a steel factory in Japan torpedoed supply of steel used in such parts as engines, transmissions and chassis systems, Automotive News writes.

Overseas plants will operate normally.

The suspension, from Feb. 8 through Feb. 13, could cost Toyota as much as 84,000 units of lost production and possibly around 14,200 units of exports to the United States.

Toyota declined to detail the shutdown’s impact on output.

But the company produces around 14,000 Lexus, Toyota and Scion vehicles a day in Japan and exports about 17% of that domestic output to the United States.

In the US, Toyota sources about 71% of its vehicles from North America.

But key nameplates, including most of the Lexus and Scion lineups and the flagship Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle, are still imported from Japan.

The explosion occurred at an Aichi Steel Corp. plant in Chita city in Aichi prefecture, Toyota's home region and its main production base.

  Toyota Buys Daihatsu

In addition to their metal woes, the world's largest auto maker is getting serious about small cars with buying out the remaining shares in its subsidiary Daihatsu.

Daihatsu is a Japanese carmaker founded in its present form in 1951, but with roots that trace back as far as 1907.

Toyota acquired a controlling interest of 51 percent in Daihatsu in 1988, bringing the company under its umbrella.

But now it is raising its stake to 100 percent by a reciprocal share-swap agreement that will see Daihatsu's other shareholders take 0.27 shares in the larger company for each share in the smaller. As part of the new arrangement, the Daihatsu division will take the lead in developing new small cars, both for itself and for its parent company. Toyota in turn will also share key technologies with Daihatsu, and both will share each other's networks in emerging markets.

Daihatsu cars are unknown in the Iranian market, apart from the occasional grey import brought by enthusiasts over the past few years. Daihatsu trucks on the other hand have a market presence.