Earthquake Halts Toyota Production

Toyota, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy all halted production lines after an auto parts supplier idled following 6.8 magnitude Japanese earthquake.

TOKYO (AP) - Toyota Motor Co. will halt production at all its factories in Japan at least 1 1/2 days because of quake damage at a major parts supplier, it said Wednesday.
The temporary closure of auto parts maker Riken Corp.'s plant at Kashiwazaki city, near the epicenter of Monday's magnitude 6.8 quake, has also forced Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries to scale back production.
Toyota, Japan's No. 1 automaker, will stop production lines at a dozen factories centered in central Aichi prefecture Thursday afternoon and all day Friday, said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.
The company will assess the situation at Riken, supplier of key transmission and engine parts to Toyota, before deciding whether to resume production on Monday, he said.
Nolasco said it was ''too early to tell'' whether the halt would affect deliveries to domestic and overseas dealers.
Fuji Heavy, maker of Subaru cars, said earlier Wednesday it would stop production of its five mini car models because it is uncertain when it will receive its next shipment of piston rings from Riken.
Mitsubishi Motors also said it was stopping assembly at three plants later in the week for several days because it is unable to procure enough parts from Riken.
The problems at Riken were also threatening production at Honda Motor Co., the automaker's president told public broadcaster NHK.
''If things don't get better today, we're going to stop, too,'' Takeo Fukui said. ''We are just able to hold out until the weekend,'' he said.
Riken said in a statement it was rushing to fix the damage at its Kashiwazaki plant and hoped to get the factory online as soon as possible.
Still, fears of production delays at Japanese automakers drove share prices down in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Fuji Heavy shares fell 1.82 percent to 592 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Honda shares fell 0.66 percent to 4,490 yen.
Toyota Motor Corp., the country's largest automaker, lost 1.32 percent to 7,460 yen, and Nissan Motor Co. lost 0.53 percent to 1,313 yen.
Monday's quake, which killed at least 9 people and caused a slew of problems at a nuclear power plant, has wreaked havoc on other companies with factories in the region.
Fuji Xerox Co. said Tuesday it had halted a printer plant damaged in the quake.
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