Leading Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Cop is mulling production delays, while its smaller rival Nissan Motor Co is cutting output given slowing vehicle demand.
Toyota Motor Corp is considering delaying production at a new plant in the US amid dwindling sales in North America, the Nikkei Shimbun reported yesterday.
Toyota, vying with General Motors (GM) to be the world’s biggest automaker, last week said it would review expansion plans as the global financial crisis hits the auto industry hard.
The Japanese automaker is considering postponing the start of operations at a new plant in Mississippi to 2011 or later from 2010 as originally planned, the Nikkei Shimbun said, quoting unnamed sources.
Toyota declined to confirm the report in a statement, saying: “We are reviewing each of our new projects as part of our emergency plans to improve our profits, but have taken no concrete decisions yet.”
The automaker decided last year to build the Mississippi facility at a cost of US$1.3 billion, its eighth assembly plant in North America.
Toyota had originally planned to produce the Highlander sport utility vehicle at the plant, but later decided instead to produce Prius hybrids as more consumers seek fuel-efficient cars.
But fewer consumers are now buying cars of any sort, in bad news for Japanese automakers whose eco-friendly vehicles have been a worldwide hit in recent years.
Last month, Toyota said it would reopen three US factories after a three-month suspension, using them to produce exports to the Middle East and Latin America to compensate for slack US demand.
Nissan, Japan’s third-largest automaker, said it would cut domestic production by an additional 72,000 units by March because of slowing global auto demand.
Nissan will set non-operating days and slow line speed at factories in Tochigi and Kyushu, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday. It will also cut four daily shifts at the Oppama factory next month. Nissan will also slash the number of contract workers to 500 in January, compared with 2,000 last month.
Rising unemployment and tighter consumer lending are reducing demand for new vehicles worldwide, spurring Nissan to take additional measures to cut production.
Industrywide US auto sales plummeted to the lowest monthly total in more than 17 years last month. Nissan on Oct. 31 said it planned to cut global production by more than 200,000 vehicles by March 31.
Meanwhile, the South Korean unit of GM announced yesterday a two-week shutdown of its plants given slow sales and said there may be further suspensions if the market worsens.
GM Daewoo will suspend production from Dec. 22 to Jan. 4, said spokeswoman Lim Young-mi, the first such shutdown since GM took over Daewoo in 2002.
The firm said in a statement that it and all other carmakers have been hit by the global economic slowdown.
“As we review our outlook for exports and domestic volume we will adjust our production schedule in line with reduced vehicle demand,” it said.
Lim said the company would consider further suspensions “if the market situation worsens,” but added that there had been no decision on whether to delay the launch of new models.
The Czech Republic’s Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution that supports a possible visit by the senate president to Taiwan. The resolution, initiated by Czech Senator Pavel Fischer, was passed with 50 votes in favor, one against and one abstention. The resolution blasts Beijing for having its Prague embassy send a letter to former Czech Senate president Jaroslav Kubera earlier this year threatening repercussions for Czech businesses if he visited Taiwan. The resolution shows the Senate’s support for a visit to Taiwan by Senate President Milos Vystrcil, accompanied by Czech business representatives, as the visit would be in the diplomatic long-term interests
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
STRONGER DEFENSES: The announcement could be considered tacit US support for the nation’s indigenous arms manufacturing program, Joseph Wu told lawmakers Just hours after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration on Wednesday, the US Department of State’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in Washington the possible sale of 18 MK-48 Heavy Weight Torpedoes to Taiwan. Reacting to the announcement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday told a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee that the ministry applauded the US move, which would help to uphold the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). The TRA states that the US should “provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive character … to maintain the capacity of the US to resist any resort
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer