Toyota is to operate its Japanese
plants at half-normal volumes for a month from early May, following
parts shortages in the aftermath of last month’s earthquake and
tsunami.

The firm’s major overseas factories
have also been affected by the disruption, with production being
suspended at five European plants from late April to early May.

The company had a non-production
day on 21 April at its vehicle factory in Burnaston, Derbyshire,
and engine plant in Deeside, north Wales, affecting 3,000
workers.

The plants will also close for the
Easter weekend, the Royal Wedding weekend, and the three days
between.

Meanwhile Honda has been forced to
halve production at its UK plant in Swindon, while the Nissan
factory in Sunderland halted production for three days in
mid-April.

Nissan has already suffered a
production loss of 55,000 cars in Japan.

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By GlobalData

Although industry optimists are
hoping normal production will be resumed by the end of May, there
remains the possibility of future difficulties with the supply
chain that might have consequences for some dealers.

Broker First Vehicle Leasing (FVL)
speculated on the options for dealers knowing that stock is going
to be hard to come by.

FVL said: “Will you: A, keep
selling vehicles as you currently are and hope the supply chain
improves?

“B, sell fewer vehicles to aid
supply availability – thus making less money?

“Or C, remove special offers and
deals and sell all vehicles at full price where possible, promoting
pre-registered and used stock to customers who need a vehicle
quickly?

“It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.”