Toyota plant remains closed

Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has confirmed that delivery of its locally built vehicle models will be impacted in the short term by the extensive damage to its Prospecton plant south of Durban caused by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

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However, Leon Theron, the Senior Vice-President at TSAM, says plans have been put in place to prioritise existing orders.

The damage to the plant led to the suspension of production since April 11, 2022. Production has not yet resumed. The Prospecton plant produces the Hilux, Corolla Cross, Quest, Fortuner and Hiace Sesfikile.

Theron says TSAM appreciates the patience exhibited by the company’s customers.

“Yes, Hilux, Fortuner, Corolla Cross and Quest orders are going to take a little longer but please be assured that they will be filled the moment our new supply kicks in.

“As far as imported models go, it’s business as usual. In fact, we have requested extra units to compensate for the temporary lack of availability of locally built models,” he says.

TSAM says it is currently implementing a systematic and meticulously phased plan to return its Prospecton plant to working condition after it suffered extensive flood damage two weeks ago.

“This approach is designed to ensure a safe start-up, without any potential secondary issues,” it says.

TSAM added that clean-up operations are progressing at pace in different areas.

It says the first three phases include the establishment of temporary utilities at the plant, cleaning up and then powering up the machinery.

“Once the trial power-up stage is reached, certain areas of the facility will then be able to move to phase four, which involves an accurate assessment and equipment check,” it says.

Andrew Kirby, the President and CEO of TSAM, says the company will only be able to adequately judge the realistic lead time to resume production once it commences with the fourth phase of its clean-up operations.

“As you can imagine, there will be a mountain of repairs to be made along with many parts that will need to be ordered.

“It would therefore be irresponsible of us to call a start-up date until we have the full picture. We anticipate firming up dates within the next week,” he says.

Kirby expressed gratitude for the support received from its dealers and suppliers, local and national government and TSAM staff. Parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), was singled out for its swift response to this emergency.

“TSAM’s recovery is currently the number-one priority for TMC as demonstrated by more than 50 maintenance and engineering experts on site, with more arriving next [this] week,” Kirby said on Friday.

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