Toyota Motor Corp has announced that its operations near the Chinese port of Tianjin will stay closed at least until Wednesday because of safety concerns following not only the chemical explosions last week that ended in more than 114 deaths, but also because fires continue to occur at the site.
The company said that they “will only restart operations when we have been able to confirm the safety of our facilities and their surroundings, and when our employees feel that they can once again go to work in a safe environment.”
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 was caused by a current uncertainty regarding the safety hazards at the site.
Toyota has previously suspended its two final assembly lines near the Chinese Tianjin port from Monday to Wednesday to assess the damage done by the blasts, then they got extended through Saturday, with the recent announcement they will be on halt for at least another few days.
Joint venture Sichuan FAS Toyota Motor Co Ltd. managed to resume its operations at its Changchun plant on Saturday according to schedule, in order to make up for the lost output. The plant was closed up until Friday because the damages at the port caused a delay in custom clearance for the auto parts shipped from Japan.
Toyota has produced 432,340 cars at these plants during last year, and according to IHS Automotive, it will probably lose 2,200 a day because of the explosions.
According to the Japanese automaker – more than 50 Toyota employees were injured during the blasts.
By Gabriela Florea