Published on August 29th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair


Toyota Suspends Car Production In Japan Over Production System Failure

What happens when the Toyota ‘Just-in-Time’ system grinds to a halt?

Toyota today shut down plant operation across the entire nation of Japan, according to Reuters. The production halt was not related to COVID-19, but to a system glitch that prevented the company from ordering components.

Toyota RAV4 Factory

The production shut down began with 12 of Toyota’s domestic plants in the morning but was extended to all 14 of its Japanese production sites by the afternoon. These 14 production plants account for a third of Toyota’s global production capacity. Toyota also acknowledges that the shut down of its car production plants have also forced 2 engine production plants to be suspended as well.

Toyota Customers In Malaysia

A majority of Toyotas sold in Malaysia (by volume sold) are locally assembled. These include the Vios, Yaris, Corolla Cross, Rush, Fortuner, Hilux, and Hiace. There are also a few that are fully-imported from Thailand and Indonesia, such as the Corolla, Camry, and Innova Zenix. That being said, a number of ‘high value’ Toyota models as well as all Lexus models come directly from Japan.

These include all the Harrier and all GR models, such as the Supra, GR86, and GR Corolla. Those looking at a next generation Vellfire or Alphard may also be affected by this, though order taking for those models has not started in Malaysia.

Cause Of The Glitch

Last year, a software problem caused by a cyberattack on a supplier forced Toyota to use an alternate system to keep ordering parts as necessary. This time, it’s still unclear if the cause of the glitch is another cyberattack or if it’s just a good old fashioned bug.

If it is an attack on Toyota, it’s possible that it is politically motivated. Last week, the government of Japan began releasing treated radioactive waste water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific ocean. China was particularly upset by this and both country’s embassies are getting harassing phone calls from each other’s citizens. It’s possible that a cyberattack could have been the reason why Toyota’s proven production system has been brought to its knees.

That being said, Toyota themselves have not called it a cyberattack yet so we will have to wait for them to conclude their investigations.

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Written work on @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.

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