BLUE SPRINGS — Toyota said yesterday it expects to return to full North American production in September, faster than it expected following parts shortages stemming from the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
Toyota Motor Corp. said its North American production is currently at 80 percent on average. Eight of its 12 North American-built models returned to full production on June 6, the automaker said.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged auto parts plants in northeastern Japan and cut power to others, interrupting the supply of car and truck parts to carmakers across the world.
Toyota, along with Honda Motor Co., was one of the hardest hit. It cut production to about 30 percent of normal in May by idling factories for several days or reducing their hours. It warned dealers to expect shortages of some models well into the summer.
Toyota has resumed full production of the Avalon large car, Camry midsize car, Corolla compact, Highlander SUV, Matrix small car, Sequoia large SUV, Sienna minivan and Venza crossover vehicle, the company said.
The Lexus RX350 SUV, Toyota RAV4 small crossover and Tundra and Tacoma pickups are not expected to return to full production in June.
The automaker will focus on making up as much lost production as possible after September, said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota’s North American manufacturing, said in a statement.
The automaker has 13 factories in North America that employ 25,000 people. Toyota has said it will not lay off any workers.
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