Toyota assembling cars and trucks fast to fulfill North American demand

It's full speed ahead for the production and shipment of 2012 Toyota cars and trucks to American and Canadian vehicle buyers.

Toyota officials say they don't forecast any delays in any North American production and distribution because of flooding in Thailand, which had previously hampered the Japanese carmaker's ability to meet delivery deadlines.

The impact of this is that North American plants "will continue operating on a normal production schedule, with planned overtime and Saturday production," a spokesman said.

Toyota promises "to monitor the situation closely," but expects no hiccups. U.S. inventories keep fattening. Dealer stock went up by 30,000 cars and trucks last month.

Recovery from the flooding comes on the heels of two other Herculean obstacles that have been overcome: A March 11 quake and tsunami in Japan.

Steve St. Angelo, executive VP of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, said in September that most production of Toyota vehicles would be normal no later than now. He said 100% production of the Tacoma, Tundra, RAV4 and Lexus RX 350 were going full tilt in September. In June, Toyota confirmed production schedules were forging ahead for eight other models sold in the U.S.: The Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Matrix, Highlander, Sienna (pictured), Sequoia and Venza. Together, these vehicles account for 70% of Toyota’s American sales.

With Japan-based production also restored to normal levels, Toyota is now focusing on replenishing dealer inventories through overtime and Saturday shifts, St. Angelo said. Production levels in the fourth quarter are 15% higher than forecasted prior to the devastation in Japan. That means more money in the pockets of American auto workers as Toyota plays hurry up to assemble more vehicles and then move them out to rebuild showroom sales.

“The recovery is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our North American team members, suppliers and business partners," St. Angelo said. "All of us at Toyota greatly appreciate the patience and support of our customers and dealers, many of whom have made generous donations in support of the relief efforts in Japan.

“Looking ahead, we’re excited about our extensive product launch schedule over the coming months. ... I have no doubt that our team continues to be focused on building the highest quality vehicles for our customers.”

Reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @HawkeFracassa.

Image source: Toyota

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