Operations still suspended a Toyota’s Prospecton plant

Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has confirmed that the flooding that left a trail of destruction in KwaZulu-Natal last week caused extensive damage to its plant at Prospecton south of Durban.

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From a sales perspective, this natural disaster has also impacted TSAM’s immediate ability to deliver vehicles, it added.

However, the automaker did not quantify the extent of the damage or when the suspension of production at the plant will be lifted.

Production at the plant has been suspended since 11 April 2022.

“Plant activities have been suspended while assessment and clean-up take place.

“The cessation of operations will be extended when the plant enters the reparation phase.

“The damage caused to the TSAM facility has not yet been fully quantified. A more accurate forecast concerning the resumption of production will be provided once assessments are completed,” it said.

TSAM added that it is noteworthy that numerous upgrades were put in place following the floods in 2017 to mitigate future occurrences.

It said these included the installation of pumps and piping within the plant to disperse water as well as maintaining the water drainage channels surrounding the facility.

TSAM said these countermeasures worked successfully by keeping the flood waters at bay but were unfortunately not a match for the mass of water that breached the facility when the banks of the Mlazi River broke on 12 April 2022.

The company said that of the total number of water-damaged vehicles assessed, 500 units have passed inspection and will be retailed. The remainder will be scrapped.

Photographs of flooding at Toyota SA’s plant released by the Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) showed production areas and the new vehicle stockyard under water.

The Prospecton plant produces the Hilux, Corolla Cross, Quest, Fortuner and Hiace Sesfikile.

Leon Theron, the senior vice-president of sales and marketing at TSAM, said that customers whose vehicles were destroyed, will be prioritised.

“This will be easier to facilitate with imported CBU vehicles as these are sourced from other plants.

“Of course, there is a pipeline for all imported vehicles, but we will try to increase this supply in order to make up for the units lost.

“Locally produced models such as Hilux are more of a challenge, and we will be personally reaching out to customers to inform them of the delays in production,” he said.

TSAM said that while none of its staff succumbed to injuries on-site, the company would like to extend its sincere condolences to the families who have suffered loss as a result of the catastrophic flooding.

Andrew Kirby, President and CEO of TSAM, confirmed that the company’s approach and response will be “to prioritise our staff and their families, ensuring that their safety and wellness come first”.

“This will then be followed by the communities around us, including our extended Toyota family – our dealers and suppliers.

“In fact, we have already put plans in place to make a sizeable donation to an NGO to assist local communities,” he said.

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