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Mazda to halt output at 4 plants amid slowing demand due to virus

This supplied photo shows the logo of Mazda Motor Corp. (Photo courtesy of Mazda Motor Corp.)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Mazda Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will briefly halt operations at four plants in Japan and abroad and cut global production by 60,000 units to adjust to slowing demand caused by the global spread of the coronavirus.

    Between Saturday and April 30, Mazda plans to suspend operations for 13 days and halt night shifts for eight days at two plants in Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures in western Japan.

    The Hiroshima-based automaker produced 1.01 million units at its domestic plants in 2019, exporting more than 80 percent of them, but many dealers in the United States and other overseas markets have been closed due to the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus.

    The company said it will also stop output at its factory in Mexico for about 10 days from Wednesday and close its production base in Thailand for about 10 days from next Monday.

    "Mazda has decided to adjust production at our production facilities globally in consideration of difficulties in parts procurement, plummeting sales in overseas markets and uncertainty over future markets," it said in a statement.

    The coronavirus outbreak has weighed on auto production globally, as many governments ordered factory workers to stay home while supply chains of auto parts were disrupted.

    Mazda's move followed Toyota Motor Corp.'s announcement Monday that it will temporarily halt seven production lines at five plants in Japan from April 3, raising concerns over regional economies that highly depend on the auto industry.

    Toyota, Honda Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp. also said Monday they have suspended operations at their plants in India due to the coronavirus epidemic.

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