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Toyota dealer shrugs off concern after earthquake

Toyota dealer shrugs off concern after earthquake

CAMBODIA’S sole Toyota distributor downplayed concerns that the Japanese earthquake could slow imports of the popular vehicle, company officials said yesterday.

The distributor has not received any information about delays or cancellations of imports to Cambodia, said Toyota (Cambodia) Company Chairman Kong Nuon.

“We have not received any information from [Toyota] yet. But I think there won’t be a problem for us,” he said.

The company typically orders between 40 and 60 vehicles from Toyota Company based in Japan every month.

“We have submitted our order to them,” he said. “We think there is not problem. If there are problems such as delays, they will tell us soon.”

Toyota (Cambodia) Company is the sole company licensed to distribute Toyota vehicles and spare parts in Cambodia.

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Company shares gained the most in more than two years in Tokyo trading yesterday, as carmakers and suppliers began to reopen factories closed after the earthquake.

The world’s biggest carmaker rose 9.1 percent to 3,345 yen (US$41.46), its biggest gain since December 2008, after plunging 15 percent over the two previous days.

Nissan Motor Company recovered 6.2 percent and Honda Motor Company regained 3.9 percent yesterday.

Toyota, which halted all plants in Japan after the March 11 quake through today and canceled overtime at US factories, will reopen seven plants in Aichi prefecture, said Keisuke Kirimoto, a spokesman in Tokyo.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp and tyremaker Bridgestone Corp reopened plants yesterday that were shut after the magnitude-9.0 quake off the coast of northern Japan, which may have killed as many as 10,000 people.

Japan’s “automotive industry is facing acute and unprecedented problems relating to component and power-supply shortages,” said Paul Newton, a London-based auto analyst for IHS Automotive.

Toyota’s profit may be cut by 6.5 billion yen per day of lost output, said analyst Koji Endo of Advanced Research Japan.

The absence of component supplies and adequate power will make it difficult even for the least-affected automakers to resume production this week, Newton said.

Honda and Mazda Motor Corp have said all their plants in Japan will be closed until March 20.

Suzuki Motor Corp was to decide today whether to restart operations. Nissan, Japan’s second-biggest car company, has said it will halt four plants through today and two more until March 18.

Mitsubishi resumed production at its three plants in central and western Japan, Yuki Murata, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based carmaker, said yesterday.

Bridgestone, the world’s biggest tyremaker, reopened three plants in Tochigi prefecture, two of which will begin deliveries of tires for cars, trucks and motorcycles from March 18, according to a statement.

Mitsubishi rose 6.8 percent in Tokyo and closed at 94 yen, after plunging 20 percent over the previous two days. Bridgestone surged 7 percent, rebounding from a 10 percent two-day slump.

None of Toyota City, Japan-based Toyota’s factories in the northern Tohoku region hit by the tsunami sustained serious damage, the company said. Toyota sent 60 employees to Tohoku to assist workers and
their families and assess factory damage, said Paul Nolasco, a company spokesman.

The Primearth EV Energy C plant, a Toyota subsidiary that makes batteries in Miyagi prefecture for hybrid autos such as the Prius, suffered minor damage to production lines, Nolasco said.

In North America, Toyota slowed production by cancelling overtime shifts to conserve parts until conditions in Japan are better understood, said Mike Goss, a US-based spokesman. “We’re waiting for TMC to complete an assessment of suppliers in Japan and our suppliers’ suppliers,” said Goss.

Some of the parts from the seven plants that reopen tomorrow morning in Japan will be for export to factories outside Japan, spokesman Kirimoto said yesterday.  ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BLOOMBERG

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