Toyota, Honda suspending China production longer than planned over coronavirus outbreak
TOKYO, NNA – Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have decided to suspend production in China longer than initially scheduled as the mysterious new coronavirus spreads, with confirmed cases of infection exceeding those for the SARS virus.
Toyota will delay the resumption of its four vehicle assembly plants across China until Feb. 10 or later, against the initial plan for early February, a spokesman in Tokyo told NNA in a phone interview on Wednesday.
China is Toyota’s second-largest market after the United States, selling over 1.6 million units last year and topping that of Japan for the first time. The output capacity of the four Chinese plants totals 1.16 million units per year, according to the spokesman.
In China, the Chinese New Year holidays had been officially extended to Feb. 2 from Jan. 30, but the number of infected people has been surging day by day to over 7,700.
The global carmaker will also postpone restarting operations of eight car components factories in the country until the same day or later, he said.
Honda has three car assembly plants in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak, with annual production capacity of 600,000 units, according to the company.
Hubei Province announced Wednesday night that all companies in the central Chinese province must reopen offices and factories after Feb. 13.
Honda will follow the policy of the local authorities, a spokeswoman in Tokyo told NNA over phone on Thursday. On Wednesday, the major Japanese carmaker notified parts suppliers of its plan to halt factory operations till Feb. 9, according to the notice obtained by NNA.
Honda sold 1.55 million vehicles in the world’s largest automobile market in 2019. It has another three car assembly plants for the domestic market in the southern city of Guangzhou with total production capacity of 600,000 units annually, according to the Japanese firm.