China: Toyota reinitiates plant production following port explosions hiatus image

With worldwide leadership of the automotive industry in balance, Toyota is hurrying to restart auto manufacturing at a massive assembly facility in the Chinese port of Tianjin, which was heavily damaged earlier this month in a huge series of blasts.

The massive explosions took the life of at least 140 persons and triggered a crisis for the government even as the country is struggling to fend off an economic crisis. The stock market collapse seen lately is a good indicator of the economic woes of the second-largest world power and the woes have also eaten away the successful auto industry. Global automakers are though largely dependent on the Chinese market for a hefty portion of their global sales and profits. The explosion that caused massive damage to vehicles stored inside the port by numerous automakers also triggered a shutdown that could be crucial for Toyota. The Japanese automaker saw its leadership taken away by Volkswagen following the sales results of the first six months of the year. The production lost by the Tianjin plant hiatus could further deliver an edge throughout the remainder of the year to the German competitor.

Toyota announced a “gradual” restart of its production at the manufacturing facility near the Chinese port of Tianjin, which were ceased on the day of the fatal chemical explosions on August 12. The company said the blast was severe and broke windows at the car assembly, logistics, and research buildings, with 67 employees injured and thousands of autos damaged. The main Tianjin complex has around 12,000 workers and builds models such as the popular Corolla, at a production cadence of 440,000 vehicles for 2014.