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DATE News (chronologically)
01/06/09
automotive
Toyota orders 11-day output halt as sales slump
Toyota Motor Corp is to halt production at its Japanese plants for 11 days in February and March as a sharp slide in U.S. sales has left dealers' lots full of unsold cars. A 37 percent slump in December sales in Toyota's biggest market was its sharpest fall in more than a quarter of a century and worse than declines at struggling U.S. rivals General Motors and Ford Motor.

"I never expected the crisis to spread this fast and leave this deep a scar," Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe told reporters at a Tokyo event hosted by Japan's top business lobbies. Toyota had already announced a three-day production halt for this month at its 12 directly operated Japanese plants -- four car assembly plants and eight for engines, transmissions and other components. A sweeping suspension of domestic production is almost unprecedented. In 1993, Toyota halted output for one day as a strong yen hammered sales.

Japanese-built cars make up around 40 percent of Toyota's sales in the United States, where foreign-made cars and trucks have been piling up at ports and dealers' yards.

Automakers everywhere are cutting back production as consumers, hit by tight credit, shy away from big-ticket purchases even as companies dangle generous sales incentives. Reuters
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