Toyota's new assembly line saves time, costs: report

(Reuters) - TOKYO Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:53am EST

(Reuters) - TOKYO Jan 23 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) has introduced a new assembly line structure at a subsidiary factory that allows for the automaker to save capital expenditure and reduce production time, the Asahi newspaper reported on Sunday.

The new line, introduced in a new factory of Central Motor Co, is shaped like the letter "U" and allows for more than one task to take place at once on a vehicle, such as installing the engine in the front while adding underbody parts in the back, the Asahi said without citing a source.

Under the new system, which carries vehicles on a conveyor, the assembly line is also shorter than existing ones, the Asahi said.

The method has cut the Toyota unit's factory assembly line length into one-third of what it would have been and the firm saved 40 percent on capital expenditure, the Asahi said.

Toyota, exposed to a strong yen, has been under intense pressure to drive down costs or take the politically difficult step of shifting more of its production overseas.

The firm, which produces a bigger portion of its vehicles in Japan than its rivals Honda Motor Co (7267.T) and Nissan Motor Co (7201.T), said last month that it aims to significantly lower the break-even point for its Japanese operations through a slew of improved manufacturing processes.

(Reporting by Yoko Kubota)

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