Toyota Motor Corp. has once again cut its upcoming production target in Japan in response to ongoing COVID-related havoc with a key supplier.
The latest production suspensions announced will take place over two weeks at the Motomachi plant (July 4-8, and July 11-15), and the Takaoka plant (July 11-15, and July 18-22).
Vehicles affected by the production pauses will include the Toyota GR Yaris and bZ4X, and Lexus LC.
But of more concern, the popular Toyota RAV4 is also affected, and it currently has wait times around 18 months in Australia as things stand.
TMC said its expected global production volume for July is now approximately 800,000 units, about 50,000 fewer than what it told suppliers at the start of the year.
“Due to the continued impact of a COVID-19 outbreak at one of our suppliers, we have decided to extend the period of operations suspension at some of our plants and production lines,” the company said.
“We at Toyota would like to again apologise for the repeated adjustments to our production plans… and for causing considerable inconvenience to our customers who have been waiting for the delivery of vehicles, suppliers, and other parties concerned.”
TMC last week slashed its projected June factory output for the third time in as many weeks, downgrading the monthly production target to approximately 750,000 units.
TMC has been forced to downgrade its production targets with startling regularity, having published more than a dozen production ‘adjustment’ bulletins this year. Stated reasons have included chip shortages and COVID outbreaks – both at plants, and within suppliers.
Toyota still says to expect a group-wide output of 9.7 million cars in this Japanese fiscal year (ending March 31), down from an initial projection of 11 million cars when it thought the global supply chain would bounce back this year.
Even in this best-case scenario, losing around 1.3 million vehicles from global allocation will send shockwaves throughout all key Toyota regions – not least of all Australia where the company commands north of 20 per cent market share.
Toyota Australia dealers navigating ongoing chronic stock shortages are telling some customers to prepare for multi-year wait times on core models including LandCruiser, RAV4 and Camry.
Printed-out guidelines of expected customer wait times are being offered by several east coast dealers, subject to change based on the Toyota build process. We saw some of these guidelines on car forums, while others we’ve seen ourselves.
Wait periods multiple dealers are telling customers to expect are around 18-24 months on a newly ordered Toyota RAV4 Hybrid and 12-24 months on a Toyota Camry hybrid – two cars in huge demand on account of today’s record fuel prices.
This writer knows several people who were quoted 18-month waits on their RAV4 hybrids over the past few weeks, so this one checks out.
The average suggested lead times on the LandCruiser 300 Series are likewise listed as 18-24 months – we know the related Lexus LX also has year-long waits as well – while the LandCruiser 70 is listed as subject to wait times of between three and four years, “or never”.
This lattermost figure might be hyperbole, and was contested by TMC.
For its part, Toyota Australia acknowledges the long waits but says there’s not really a one-size-fits-all timeframe, because each dealership has different pipelines.
“Demand for new vehicles is at unprecedented levels. In Australia, to support the strong demand, Toyota Australia been working closely with our global production teams to secure as many vehicles for our market as possible,” it said.
“Wait times vary depending on the model, variant and specification requirements of each customer. The RAV4 Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, LandCruiser 70 and LandCruiser 300 are in particularly high demand and currently have longer wait times.
“Due to the evolving nature of this situation, Toyota dealers are best placed to continue to provide updates to customers on delivery timeframes for individual orders.”
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