Toyota falls as China plants stay shut 2 weeks after blasts

Monday, Aug 24, 2015

Toyota Motor Corp. fell the most in Tokyo trading since the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 tsunami, after saying its biggest source of production in China will remain closed for at least two weeks following deadly explosions.

Toyota declined 6.7 percent, the steepest drop since March 15, 2011. It outpaced the 5.9 percent slump in Japan’s benchmark Topix index as global stocks retreated and a strengthening yen pummeled exporters.

The automaker’s affiliate Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co. extended its production shutdown through Aug. 26, Itsuki Kurosu, a Toyota spokesman, said in an e-mail. About 4,700 Toyota and Lexus vehicles were damaged by the Aug. 12 blasts at a chemical storage site in the city of Tianjin, and lingering safety concerns have kept the company from accessing its facilities.

Toyota has emerged as one of the hardest-hit carmakers by the blasts at a warehouse holding toxic material that killed at least 123 people and injured 67 Toyota employees living in the surrounding area. The disaster took a broader toll on the auto industry, damaging 2,700 Volkswagen AG vehicles, shutting a nearby Hyundai Motor Co. logistics center and forcing Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to divert car shipments to Shanghai.

Corollas, Crowns

Tianjin FAW Toyota built about 440,000 Crown, Reiz, Corolla and Vios cars last year, almost half of Toyota’s annual vehicle output in China. The Toyota affiliate’s plan was to produce about 35,000 vehicles this month from two plants, Gao Tao, an analyst for IHS Automotive, said in an e-mail.

The company will probably lose more output of cars such as the Corolla, which sells for about 107,800 yuan ($16,850), than more expensive models such as the Crown, priced at about 264,800 yuan, according to IHS.

Toyota’s operations will restart once the company is able to confirm the safety of its facilities and the surrounding area, Kurosu said. The warehouse that exploded stored about 1,300 metric tons of oxide compounds, the official Xinhua News Agency reported last week, citing Tianjin Vice Mayor He Shushan.

Other News