Toyota Idles All Japan Plants Due to Supplier System Outage
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Toyota Motor Corp. will suspend output at all of its Japan factories on March 1 following disruptions to a supplier’s systems, marking another setback for the world’s top auto producer.
Toyota’s stoppage is due to a system disruption at Kojima Press Industry Co. which caused the supplier to halt operations, Toyota spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto said Feb. 28. The Nikkei newspaper reported earlier that the Aichi Prefecture-based parts maker’s operations were down because of a cyberattack.
The incident hinders Toyota’s efforts to return to full production following factory halts in January and February because of chip shortages and COVID-related disruptions. Toyota, which had been relatively resilient to supply chain snags through most of the pandemic, has been trying to ramp up production to make up for lost output and meet soaring global demand for new vehicles.
“It’s hard to believe the timing of this for Toyota,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Tatsuo Yoshida. “The auto industry has been focused completely on parts shortages, but this is a reminder that cyberattacks are a serious risk that must constantly be monitored.”
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The website for Kojima Press, which makes metal, plastic and electronic components, wasn’t accessible at the time of reporting. A representative for the company couldn’t be reached outside of normal business hours.
The system outage is also affecting Toyota’s affiliates. Hino Motors Ltd. is suspending all of its Japan plants, the bus and truck maker said late Feb. 28. Daihatsu Motor Co. is suspending its Kyoto factory, the Nikkei reported.
Cyberattacks have risen in Japan in recent years. Authorities identified 12,275 cybercrime cases in the country last year, a record high, according to Japan’s National Police Agency. Japan’s manufacturing industry is the largest target for crimes such as ransomware attacks.
Toyota said earlier this month it was planning to produce 950,000 vehicles in March, up from the 843,393 a year ago. A one-day stoppage for Toyota’s factories in Japan translates to roughly 13,000 vehicles, according to Hashimoto. The company operates 28 assembly lines at 14 plants in Japan.
Toyota’s production fell 15% in January, as the company halted output in the Chinese city of Tianjin when the government carried out multiple rounds of mass-testing on residents. Earlier this month, some of Toyota’s North American operations were affected by protests that shut some of the main trade routes between the U.S. and Canada.
The disruptions in the first month of the year prompted Toyota to cut its output goal for the fiscal year through March to 8.5 million vehicles from a previous target of 9 million. The company is investigating whether it can resume operations from March 2, Hashimoto said.