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Toyota suspends production in South Africa amid coronavirus spread

A Toyota Motor Corp. logo on a Prius PHV is polished on May 9, 2018, at a Toyopet dealership for the automaker's vehicles in Tokyo's Shibaura area. (Kyodo)

NAGOYA (Kyodo) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will suspend production at its plant in South Africa until April 16 due to the restriction on movements implemented by the government following the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

    The Japanese auto giant has already decided to temporarily halt output at some other overseas production bases as well as domestic ones as the spread of the virus causing the COVID-19 respiratory illness forces factory workers to stay home while demand for vehicles falls worldwide.

    In South Africa, Toyota manufactured about 137,000 units last year, including the Corolla sedan and the Hilux pickup truck.

    Toyota said Monday it will briefly stop seven production lines at five domestic plants from April 3 to adjust to slowing global demand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

    Subaru Corp. said Thursday it will delay the planned resumption of production at its plant in the U.S. state of Indiana to April 7 from the initially scheduled Monday, due to the curfew issued by the state government.

    The Japanese automaker halted output in the U.S. factory last Monday to prevent workers from being infected with the coronavirus and adjust production due to falling demand for its vehicles.

    Subaru manufactures sport-utility vehicles at the plant for the American and Canadian markets. The factory suspension is expected to cut production by about 20,000 units, the automaker said.

    Other Japanese automakers have also temporarily stopped output in the United States due to the spread of the virus in the country, in step with U.S. auto giants General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., which will close factories through Monday.

    Toyota decided to halt production in the United States until April 3, Nissan Motor Co. until April 6 and Honda Motor Co. until next Monday.

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