Toyota to reopen China plants post explosions image

Toyota will begin trial production of its vehicles at the company’s China plants after they had been closed following the blasts that took place in Tianjin.

This is the first step from the Japanese carmaker in the direction of reopening its facilities that had been shut down for two weeks, according to people familiar with the matter.

Toyota’s workers have returned to the plants and are ready to resume output on a trial basis however before the company decides to resume completely full production. According to one of the sources, a test run of around 100 cars will start today.

Production at the Tianjin FAW Toyota Motor Co. has been suspended since the 12th of August when explosions occurred at the chemical storage site in the northern Chinese port city. The incident led to 123 deaths and injured 67 of Toyota’s workers who live in the area.

The Japanese carmaker stated that the Tianjin blast led to around 4,700 damaged Toyota and Lexus models, which had dents and broken windows. The decision to extend the closure of its Tianjin operations for 14 days was caused by a current uncertainty regarding the safety hazards at the site.

Ryo Sakai, spokesman for Toyota, said that the company has not decided yet when it would restart production and that the carmaker will restart its local operation once it receives a confirmation concerning the safety of its facilities and the nearby area.

The Tianjin explosions made an impact on the auto industry, leading to 2,700 Volkswagen AG damaged vehicles, the shutdown of a nearby Hyundai Motor Co. logistics center and it forced Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to move its car shipments to Shanghai.


By Gabriela Florea