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Toyota announces more production cuts, impacting wait times

Toyota will suspend production at nine lines across six of its Japanese plants during August, slashing planned output for the month by about 150,000 cars.

The company blames ongoing COVID-related parts shortages in its supply chain, and the ever-present lack of semiconductors.

Global August production is expected to hit approximately 700,000 cars, down from the 850,000 it intended to make when briefing suppliers at the start of the year.

Vehicles affected include the RAV4, LandCruiser 70 and 300 Series, Corolla, Camry, C-HR, and bZ4x, as well as the related Subaru Solterra. The Lexus LX is also affected.

The monthly production pauses will include Motomachi (18 days), Tsutsumi (five days), Iwate (five days), Fujimatsu (five days), Yoshiwara (11 days), and a plant listed as ‘Toyota Industries Corporation’ (one day).

TMC still says its global production volume for August through October is estimated to average about 850,000 units per month, and its production forecast for the Japanese (April to March) fiscal year remains unchanged at approximately 9.7 million cars.

But it’s hard to see this happening, since Toyota Motor Corp has been slashing its production all year – having posted more than 20 production bulletins and subsequent amendments since January.

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.

Multiple dealers are telling customers to expect waits of 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 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 recently.

“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.”

Toyota Australia has removed the customer web order tracking feature from its website, instead telling customers to contact their “selling dealer” for arrival updates.

In separate but related news, Toyota Motor Corporation Australia turned a $249 million after-tax profit for the 2021-22 financial year.

Comprising Toyota Australia, Lexus Australia and Revolution (software services) operations, the result also included proceeds from the sale of the Chatswood Toyota dealership in Sydney.

Financial year sales by Toyota and Lexus rose by 6.2 per cent to 234,091 vehicles combined, representing more than one out of every five new vehicles sold in Australia (22.3 per cent).

“… Unprecedented demand for our vehicles, combined with the global automotive industry’s shortages of semiconductors and other components due to COVID supply chain challenges, has unfortunately resulted in extended customer wait times for many vehicles,” said TMCA president and CEO Matthew Callachor.

“Toyota apologises sincerely for the inconvenience being experienced by affected customers, and thanks them for their loyalty and patience.

“I want to assure them that we and our global production teams are doing everything in our power to secure the maximum number of vehicles for our market and as quickly as possible.”

Mr Callachor said TMC Australia would donate one per cent of pre-tax profit every year to community programs, starting with $3.4 million for 2021-22. Ever-aware of smart PR, Toyota was early in returning its government JobKeeper payments, back in January 2021.

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