As it escapes the recession doldrums, Toyota Motor Corp. has announced plans to add shifts at its factory in San Antonio, Texas, in order to push pickup production, reports Automotive News.
Toyota pickups in demand
Toyota’s San Antonio factory will add additional shifts on Saturdays to meet increased consumer demand for pickups and boost dealer inventory. Most Toyota dealerships are still recovering from last year’s supply chain disruption after natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. Key components such as internal system sensors and specialty paint for various surfaces on Toyota vehicles were much more difficult to obtain due to the elemental carnage.
New shifts will open at Toyota’s San Antonio plant on Jan. 21. Additional Saturday shifts will likely be added by the end of March, which Toyota predicts will be the time when overall inventory will reach normal levels.
“The effects of the tsunami have run its course, and we are back to rolling at full capacity of production,” said San Antonio plant spokeswoman Brandyn Moore. “We are trying to catch back up and get the trucks back on inventory lots for the dealers.”
San Antonio was put on hold
Following the natural disasters and resulting supply chain disruption, Toyota’s San Antonio plant was shut down for in increments of two to three weeks at a time. Last summer, it was not uncommon to see three-day work weeks.
Approximately half of the Japanese automaker’s Tacoma pickup inventory comes from San Antonio, as does the U.S. supply of full-size Tundra pickups.
By last fall, production began to increase at Toyota plants across North America. The goal is to get back to where the automaker needs to be by March, said company spokesman Mike Goss. By then, Toyota projects that its dealers will have a 70-day inventory of the popular Tacoma pickup on hand. Currently, Toyota dealers in North America are only averaging a 40-day supply.
A fine December
Toyota’s December 2011 pickup sales exceeded expectation. Increased production in San Antonio makes sense, said Moore.
“December sales were very good for the Tundra and Tacoma markets, so because of that we have a recovery Saturday set for this weekend and possibly some more in March,” she said.
Toyota maintenance and production in San Antonio
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