Toyota hopes to return to full North American production in Sept - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Toyota hopes to return to full North American production in September

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ERLANGER, Ky. (AP) -- Toyota says it expects to return to full North American production in September.

The Japanese automaker says production is recovering faster than expected after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Eight of Toyota's 12 North American-built models returned to full production June 6.

The supply of car and truck parts to automakers across the world was interrupted after Japanese factories were damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, or stricken by the power outages that followed.

Toyota Motor Corp. was among those hardest hit. It cut production to about 30 percent of normal in May and warned dealers to expect shortages of some models well into the summer.

Toyota officials say that after September the automaker will focus on making up as much lost production as possible.

All of the carmaker's North American plants had been cutting back on overtime.  But spokesman Rick Hesterberg told Fox 41 News back in March that the Georgetown, Ky. plant had not seen much overtime lately anyway, because of the economy.

Besides manufacturing vehicles, Toyota's Japanese plants also make about half the parts that the Georgetown plant needs to keep operating.  But Hesterberg said the other half are made in North America, and the Georgetown plant also had parts in inventory:  "We have not seen much of an impact at all," he said in March.

Toyota's Georgetown plant employs about 6,000 workers.  It makes the Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon, and Venza.  The company also has a plant in Princeton, Indiana that's being affected by the events in Japan.

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