The recovery is well ahead of initial expectations. Shortly after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Toyota forecasted a return to normal production levels by November or December of 2011.
In June, eight of the company’s 12 North American built models returned to 100 percent, including Avalon, Camry, Corolla, Matrix, Highlander, Sienna, Sequoia and Venza.
Today’s announcement confirms 100 percent production of the remaining four vehicles, including Tacoma, Tundra, RAV 4 and Lexus RX 350. Together, the 12 models account for nearly 70 percent of Toyota’s U.S. sales.
With Japan-based production also restored to normal levels, Toyota will focus on replenishing dealer inventories through overtime and Saturday shifts at certain plants. The company estimates production levels in the fourth quarter will be approximately 15 percent higher than forecasted prior to the earthquake and tsunami.
Commenting on the announcement, St. Angelo said, “The recovery is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our North American team members, suppliers and business partners. All of us at Toyota greatly appreciate the patience and support of our customers and dealers, many of whom have made generous donations in support of the relief efforts in Japan.”
He continued, “Looking ahead, we’re excited about our extensive product launch schedule over the coming months, including the all-new 2012 Camry and Camry Hybrid. I have no doubt that our team continues to be focused on building the highest quality vehicles for our customers.”
Separately, the company also confirmed that Toyota’s Alabama engine plant begins four-cylinder engine production this month. The Huntsville plant, which already builds six- and eight-cylinder engines for trucks, will build the four-cylinder for Camry, Highlander, RAV4, Venza and Sienna.
In addition, plans for Toyota’s 14th North American plant in Mississippi remain on track with Corolla production scheduled to begin in October. The plant is hiring 2,000 team members.