Japan was struck by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake over the weekend. The Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures were hit the hardest, offering a physical reminder of the 9.0 magnitude quake that devastated the region in 2011. Scientists have claimed that Saturday’s tremor was actually an aftershock from the horror show that occurred a decade earlier.
While still a large systemic event, authorities aren’t reporting widespread injuries or even damages. However, many citizens were left without power and numerous industrial facilities were idled for inspection. This includes automakers, with Toyota making an announcement that it will be stalling nine factories for several days this week. Though only some of that time is needed for safety assessments. The automaker is fretting over a batch of suppliers that were impacted by the quake and is anticipating a parts shortage.
We’re aware of at least one Japanese semiconductor plant (Renesas Electronics) that has been forced to reduce output. But a Toyota spokesperson has made clear that the chip shortage hurting the entire industry has nothing to do with the temporary plant closures. About half of Toyota’s domestic production lines will be idled, with the manufacturer having yet to explain which components will be in short supply. That’s 14 lines in total, with suspensions officially commencing on Tuesday.
Models most likely to be affected are the domestically manufactured Toyota C-HR and highly popular RAV4. Lexus models will also see diminished output across the board. Toyota has not yet issued any projections for unit losses, though they’re likely to be substantial when added to production delays caused by the semiconductor shortage. Lines are expected to resume operations starting on February 20th, supply chain permitting.