Toyota estimates global plant run rates at 70% by June


While Toyota has extended production cuts at its North American factories through June because of parts shortages from the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the automaker said 5/11 it sees global production improving to 70% run rates by the end of June, from the current 50%.

As component supply recovers, most assembly lines in Japan will be working on two shifts rather than one, Toyota announced. Domestic production volume is reportedly around 180,000 vehicles per month, or 70% of the planned output volume of 258,000 vehicles per month for the current calendar year.

The date for the move to two shifts has not yet been fixed, but the ramp-up is expected some time by the end of June. Most overseas plants are also expected to recover to 70% rates within June, Toyota said. Toyota had planned to produce 4.6 million vehicles/year outside Japan this year. The 2011 global output was set at 7.7 million vehicles/year worldwide.

The cuts reportedly have still not affected Toyota’s $800 million TV budget, but have curtailed its Toyotathon incentive spots. In a bid to conserve the parts they do have on hand, Honda and Subaru are also expected to curb assembly ops in the U.S. Detroit automakers, which also depend on parts from Japanese suppliers, are making production cuts as well.

Some automakers have begun reducing ad spend in order to have enough cars for the lots. With supply chain issues likely to persist, they may need to conserve their vehicle inventory and will temporarily pull back on ad spend. So far, no one is estimating a hit on the upfront, but that remains to be seen.