TOKYO -- After holding strong for months, Toyota now expects to miss its global production target as the automaker capitulates to the double whammy of parts shortages and the pandemic.
Toyota said it expects global production to come in under the 9 million-vehicle target for its fiscal year to March 31 that the company had been clinging to since last autumn. It's the second time this fiscal year that Toyota has dialed down its companywide production figure.
In a statement on Tuesday, Toyota said the semiconductor shortage would force it to reduce worldwide output by 150,000 units in February to about 700,000 vehicles. Toyota put the blame for the February downturn on the ongoing microchip crisis.
That, in turn, will make it very difficult to reach the company’s 9 million target.
“Current demand is very strong, therefore we were aiming for a high February production plan. However, due to the impact of the continuing demand for semiconductors across all industries, we have adjusted our production plan,” Toyota said in the statement.
“As a result of the revision, the full-year production forecast for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, is expected to be lower than the previous forecast of 9 million units,” Toyota said.
Global procurement manager Kazunari Kumakura said after the announcement that achieving 9 million would entail producing more than 1 million units in March alone – a very tall order.
“It will be very challenging for us to achieve the target,” Kumakura said.
Toyota did not say what the new production target would be or when it would be disclosed.
Toyota started the current fiscal year targeting 9.3 million vehicles in the 12 months ending March 31. And the company largely confounded the industry by boosting output and notching record profits despite the pandemic-microchip broadside. But over last summer, Toyota finally succumbed to the global slowdown and joined rivals in pulling back production.
Last fall, it sounded an optimistic note saying that in December all 14 plants and 28 production lines in Japan would be “operating normally” for the first time since May. But in its latest guidance, Toyota said February suspensions would hit 11 lines at eight plants in the home market.
Kumakura did not give a regional breakdown of 150,000-unit reduction for February. But he said roughly half of the shortfall would come from Japan and the rest from overseas.
The Japan slowdowns will affect output of such nameplates as the Toyota Prius, RAV4, C-HR and Camry, as well as Lexus models including the LS and IS sedans and NX and UX crossovers.