That Toyota RAV4 you’ve been considering buying?
You may have to wait a while.
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Toyota announced temporary production restrictions on operations in Japan and North America on Thursday due to the global shortage of semiconductor chips.
The move is expected to further cramp the availability of new Toyota cars and trucks, which in some cases were already in short supply.
Which vehicles are restricted?
“A little bit of everything,” Toyota spokesman Scott Vazin said in an email.
The production slowdown will affect all of the company’s North American plants, including plants in Indiana and Kentucky, and is expected to last through September and “probably” through October, Vazin said.
A shortage of new vehicles, caused by the chip shortage, rippled across the auto industry, drive up used car prices to record highs and make currently leased vehicles more valuable. In some cases, used cars are rising in value, shocking analysts who have long noted that cars are depreciated.
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Toyota said it expects to cut production by about 60,000 to 90,000 vehicles in August and 80,000 in September.
Toyota has 14 plants in North America, 10 of which are in the US, with a total of more than 176,000 employees. The automaker’s U.S. plants made about 1 million of the 2.1 million vehicles the company sold in America in 2020.
The Toyota brand only had a 20-day supply of new vehicles on hand at the end of July, while the company’s luxury Lexus brand had 23 days of supply, according to Cox Automotive, owner of Kelley Blue Book and Autograder. The national average was 32 days.
“Toyota has been at or near bottom for inventory for many months,” Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs said in an email. “Lexus was lowest among the luxury brands.”
Part of the reason is that Toyota vehicles have been particularly popular during the pandemic, she said.
Toyota had already taken steps to reduce production in certain situations, including the output of the full-size Tundra pickup at its plant in San Antonio, Texas, said Chris Reynolds, president of Toyota North America.
“Long-term, we will continue to work with our suppliers to better understand the global supply chain and minimize its impact,” said Reynolds, Chief Administrative Officer of Corporate Resources.
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