Breaking: Toyota halts production at all Japanese plants

Toyota has halted production at all 12 of its assembly plants in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country on Friday.

Toyota has halted production at all 12 of its assembly plants in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country on Friday. Production won't resume until at least the middle of the week, but could be frozen even longer, the automaker said.

While the economic impact of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that followed will likely not be fully known for months, if not years, Toyota Motor company's primary concern right now is the safety and well-being of its team members and team members of its supplier base in Japan, the automaker announced just minutes ago.

As Japan as a nation continues to search for the many missing in the aftermath of the recent natural disasters, and as two nuclear power plants continue to operate on the verge of catastrophic nuclear meltdown, Toyota has decided that it is in the best interest of its workers to temporarily suspend all production nation-wide.

Toyota says that while all Toyota Motor Company plants were capable of continuing production as of Friday, several key subsidiary plants were halted, as well as some of its suppliers.

Models known to be affected by the production halt
While some of the vehicles produced in Japan are also produced in the U.S. for local American consumption, there are many models consumed in North America that are still exclusively produced in Japan and therefor will at least temporarily not be in production for exportation to the U.S. and Canada.

Affected models include the Toyota 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Prius and Yaris. Toyota's youth oriented division, Scion, will be hit the hardest as all of the brand's models are built in Japan, meaning production will be completely halted for the xD, xB and tC.

Impacted as Lexus models halted include the Lexus LS, Lexus GS, Lexus IS, Lexus GX and Lexus LX.

The Camry is also produced in Japan for some markets, but North American units are built in Georgetown, Kentucky. The Avalon and Venza are built exclusively in Georegtown. The Corolla is assembled in Japan, but North American production takes place in Cambridge, Ontario. The Matrix is assembled exclusively in Cambridge. The North American Rav4 is built in Woodstock, Ontario, although Rav4s for other markets are made in Japan. The Sequoia, Sienna, and Highlander are made in Princeton, Indiana. The Tundra and Tacoma are assembled in San Antonio, Texas.

It's not known if the production stop in Japan will affect any of the North American-built models, as some of these models rely on parts from Japan. Leftlane will continue to monitor the situation and report on any new information regarding potential production halts in Toyota's North American plants.

Roughly 38 percent of the cars sold by the automaker worldwide are produced in Japan.

Toyota changes its focus
Toyota has decided to focus its efforts on forming a company-wide emergency task force in order to assess the situation and take appropriate measures. Japan's largest automaker says that it has safely evacuated all employees from the plants and the surrounding areas. The automaker's task force is now performing detailed surveys of each and every plant in order to determine what damage, if any, was incurred.

Toyota says it is also in constant communication with its supplier base as it attempts to determine what other potential supply shortages may result from the natural disasters. With the widespread use of JIT (just in time) supply chains, even if Toyota's own plants are left untouched, there still resides potential for vehicle production to be halted beyond today's planned stoppage if even one supplier of one part is unable to deliver the necessary components for full vehicle production.

Toyota reaches out
While Toyota is understandably focused on assessing the impact of the recent natural disasters on its own condition, the automaker has also made it clear that it is concerned with the condition of the nation as a whole as well. Toyota announced that it has already donated $3.75 million to relief and recovery efforts on a national level, above and beyond its own in internal efforts.

The automaker says that it is also further considering what aid it can provide to the nation's natural disaster victims in the form of goods and services in addition to the financial support already given.