Toyota plans $1.3b manufacturing overhaul

Toyota Motor Corp will overhaul its Japanese manufacturing operations to the tune of US$1.3 billion, in an attempt to raise efficiency and recover from the blow of a record-high yen.

The overhaul will include the purchase of two listed units of the business – Toyota Auto Body and Kanto Auto Works in northeastern Japan – through share swaps, according to a report from The Globe and Mail.

The world’s largest automotive manufacturer will also discuss the integration of Kanto Auto with two of its other business units in the area – Central Motor and Toyota Motor Tohoku, the report said.

“Through these measures, we hope to give each company a bigger role and responsibility all the way from development to production of certain vehicle types,” Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, said, as quoted by The Globe and Mail. 

“There’s no doubt that producing in Japan will remain extremely difficult as long as the conditions don’t change and that’s why we have been appealing to the government to help level the playing field against foreign competitors.”

Toyota’s Japanese operations were seriously affected during and in the aftermath of the March earthquake and tsunami, with production put on hold temporarily, forcing the company to trade at half capacity.

Full production resumed in June, however some Australian customers have had to wait three months for order fulfilment. 

Australia’s Altona plant has been running at half-production due to the flow-on effects of the tsunami to the global supply chain, but is expected to be back to normal from September or October this year.