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Toyota To Throttle Back Up Earlier Than Expected

Tue, 05/10/2011 - 4:44am

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota's global car production, disrupted by parts shortages after Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami, will likely return to normal two to three months earlier than expected, a report said Tuesday.

Japans' top business daily Nikkei said Toyota's output will normalize earlier than the end of this year as parts shortages are easing. The paper didn't cite any sources.

Toyota Motor Corp. spokeswoman Shiori Hashimoto could not confirm the report. But she said Toyota was doing its utmost to return to full production.

The report came on the eve of Toyota's announcement of its fiscal fourth quarter earnings.

Toyota's production capacity was sorely hurt by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11. The twin disasters nearly washed away Japan's northeastern coast, home to a network of auto-parts suppliers, causing severe parts shortages.

The supply crisis has cost the company production of 400,000 vehicles in Japan, and 100,000 overseas. Toyota said last month its worldwide production will likely return to normal levels by November or December.

Since the disasters, Toyota's stock price has tumbled on concern over falling production. Shares in Toyota closed at 3,250 yen ($40) Tuesday, down nearly 10 percent from March 11.

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