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Toyota Motor Corp. to restart output but at half capacity

By Brian Walker, CNN
A journalist drives a Prius hybrid vehicle at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo on March 7.
A journalist drives a Prius hybrid vehicle at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo on March 7.
  • All 18 facilities will be operational but at half capacity, spokesman says
  • The company has seen its operations cut by 260,000 since the March 11 quake
  • The biggest challenges have been logistical, Toyota says

Tokyo (CNN) -- All the assembly lines will begin rolling again for Toyota Motor Corp. beginning April 18, but only for a limited time and at less than full capacity, the company announced Friday.

A spokesman for the company said that all 18 of its manufacturing facilities in Japan will be open and running between April 18 and 27, but only at about half capacity.

"We'll have to look at the parts situation after that and the overall manufacturing capability," said Toyota's Paul Nolasco, adding that it was still unclear when full and regular capacity would be complete.

The facilities will be shut on April 20 for maintenance, and Nolasco added that the national Golden Week holiday period begins at that point and the plants would normally be shut through May 9.

Golden Week is a series of national holidays like the emperor's birthday that fall together in the same week, which allows workers to travel home and production shuts down nationwide.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, has seen its operations cut by 260,000 since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami led to the deaths of more than 12,700 people, upended industry, damaged infrastructure, and made living and working conditions difficult for millions throughout Japan.

Nolasco explained that many of the biggest challenges for Toyota, like other Japan-based vehicle companies such as Honda and Nissan, have been logistical -- namely, the difficulty in getting needed electronic, rubber and other parts needed to produce the cars.

Shares in the company rose mildly in Tokyo, rising by 1.36% to 1.37% but still well off recent highs before the March 11th disaster struck.

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