2011 Toyota PriusEnlarge Photo
In the aftermath of the devastating March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami, Japan's automakers are just starting to formulate plans to get rolling once again—at least in part.
After being shut down for more than a month, several of Toyota's plants will begin limited production between April 18 and April 27, when it's scheduled to go at half normal capacity. The automaker then plans to stop production again from April 28 to May 9 for an annual spring break, however.
Toyota resumed partial production on March 26, and production resumed, at least in part, on March 28 at the Tsutsumi plant, which manufactures the Toyota Prius hybrid. It also then resumed some production of the Lexus HS 250h and CT 200h hybrids. According to an announcement today from Toyota, the company will also resume production March 11 at the Sagamihara Plant, where the Corolla is made for Toyota's domestic market.
According to the Associated Press, the production loss for Toyota thus far has been about 260,000 vehicles. Meanwhile, a number of plants remain shut down for other reasons—its Yaris plant near Tokyo, for instance, for natural-gas supply issues.
Toyota already had a supply interruption earlier this winter, with a fire at that plant in February, and as demand for the Prius rose with worries of pump prices passing $4 a gallon, Toyota announced last week a price hike across the line along with a tight two-week supply of the Prius—which means you're not likely to find any bargains on that hybrid for some time.
The limited supply also ensures that Toyota's budget-priced Prius I model won't be offered to retail customers—at least not this model year.
The automaker just this week announced that it had sold its millionth Prius for the U.S. market.