Toyota Motor Thailand has stopped operations at three of its factories due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta-variant.
The Nikkei Asia reported that operations have stopped since Wednesday (July 21st) and will last for at least seven days. The timing couldn’t be any better though, as operations were meant to take a short break from July 24th to 28th anyway in conjunction with national public holidays.
Nonetheless, Toyota Thailand will assess the situation and decide on the reopening on July 29th. The closure from Wednesday was due to a break in the supply chain, where a facility supplying wire harnesses has been forced to shut down due to an outbreak of the virus that is said to be from the stronger Delta variant.
The reopening will also be judged if the company finds a solution to the specific supply chain issue, thereby minimising its downtime to just three days.
This is the second time Toyota’s production in Thailand has been affected by the global pandemic, with the first beginning in March 2020.
UMW Toyota currently imports the Toyota Corolla Altis and Camry models from Thailand. The first batch of Toyota Corolla Cross is fully imported, before moving to local assembly by the end of this year.
With the semiconductor chip shortage starting to hit automakers, it is only a matter of time before the next wave of production is affected. Last year, Toyota Thailand only managed to produce 442,822 units, a significant drop from the total capacity of 760,000 units.
This year, the company is hoping to churn out 527,000 units, a 19% improvement compared to 2020. Close to half of the total production is exported to the Asia Pacific as well as other regions.
The automotive industry in Thailand, dubbed Detroit of the East, is also gearing up to face the accelerated transition to electric vehicles. Last month, the state-owned energy company specialised in oil and gas has announced a collaboration with Foxconn to set up production of EV platforms in the Kingdom.
The government of Thailand also recently announced bold plans to accelerate the supply and adoption of EVs in the country. By the end of 2025, Thailand hopes to have 25% of new vehicles sold are zero local emissions, with the figure increasing to 50% by the end of this decade, up from 30% previously proposed.
The kingdom plans to only offer zero-emission new vehicles from 2035, the earliest country in the ASEAN region to wave goodbye to the internal combustion engine.