Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Pushes Production Back a Third Time

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Engine line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky
Photo: Toyota

Toyota has announced that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and declining vehicle demand, it will once more extend the suspension of its North American production operations. Its manufacturing facilities will be closed through May 1, with production to resume on May 4.

This applies to all of the automaker’s automobile and component plants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, though it excludes its finished vehicle logistics centers and service parts operations, which are remaining open to “meet the ongoing needs” of Toyota customers.

Toyota had initially planned a short shutdown of only two days in late March, which it had promptly extended, with production intended to resume on April 6. Facing growing COVID-19 concerns, it then pushed the date back again, that time to April 20, before now once more extended production till May.

At the time of the previous extension, Toyota said it would provide payment relief options to lease and finance customers of Toyota and Lexus vehicles who had been affected by the virus.

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The automaker had also said it would continue paying its hourly team members their full rate through the week of April 6-12, but that they would have to take either vacation days or unpaid time off for the remaining week before the then-anticipated production restart.

Toyota did not publicly announce how it would compensate its employees over the course of the upcoming two extra weeks of production suspension, so I reached out to a representative to find out. “Toyota production and skilled team members will be paid four days each week and will need to utilize one day of paid time or unpaid,” he said.

Unfortunately, with COVID-19 still causing major concern in the United States, one wonders whether there isn’t a fourth or fifth setback yet to come.

For the time being, Toyota will continue to produce face masks, cotton swabs, gloves, and a variety of other medical and protective items needed by nurses, doctors and other front line workers. The company has also donated at least $500,000 to COVID-19 emergency relief.

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