* Toyota to keep 3 Thai car plants closed next week
* Floods affect parts supply to Asia, N.America, S.Africa
* Toyota says checking impact on other regions
* Honda delays launch of minicar due to parts shortage
* Toyota could lose $20 million per day in profit-analyst
By Chang-Ran Kim
TOKYO, Oct 27 Toyota Motor Corp said it
would keep its Thai production suspended for a fourth week and
reduce output in North America and South Africa, marking the
first impact of the floods in Thailand on car production outside
Thailand's worst floods in 50 years have affected hundreds
of manufacturers and cut off the supply of about 100 components
for Toyota, Thailand's top automaker with a production capacity
of 650,000 vehicles a year at its three factories
Japanese automakers dominate the southeast Asian car market
and the stoppages are set to eat into profits just as they were
beginning to ramp up output after supply disruptions from the
March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan. Many car
makers had also recently announced a slew of new investments in
the region to meet booming demand.
Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, said it did not know
yet how much the reduction in output would affect its results.
"We will make an announcement right away if we find out
there will be a big impact on our earnings," it said in a
statement on Thursday.
Thailand's disaster also began affecting output outside the
country this week, with Toyota cancelling overtime at all its
Japanese vehicle plants, causing a production loss of 7,000
vehicles through Saturday.
Toyota also cut back work in Indonesia, Vietnam and the
Philippines this week and on Thursday added the United States,
Canada and South Africa to the list of countries that will trim
production starting on Monday.
A Toyota spokeswoman said the company did not know yet how
much production would be reduced in all the regions.
With many suppliers directly hit by the deadly floods,
automakers are scrambling to procure replacement parts and
assess the extent of disruption to the supply chain.
Rival Honda Motor Co has postponed the launch in
Japan of a special edition of its Life minivehicle that had been
scheduled for Oct. 13. Its 240,000-cars-a-year factory in
Thailand's Ayutthaya area is still under water, also forcing its
40,000-units-a-year factory in Malaysia to close for most of
Before the update on Thursday, Tokai Tokyo Research analyst
Mamoru Katoh had estimated a 5,000-vehicle daily output
reduction for Toyota globally based on its previous plans.
Assuming a 300,000 yen ($4,000) profit on each vehicle, that
would amount to a 1.5 billion yen ($19.7 million) reduction in
profit every day, he wrote in a report.
In North America, Toyota said it would cancel production on
Oct. 29 in Indiana and Kentucky, two plants in Ontario, Canada,
and an engine plant in West Virginia to conserve parts.
Japan's Chunichi newspaper cited an unnamed Toyota executive
as saying a complete normalisation of parts supply and
production in Thailand could take until December or later.
Toyota said the situation remained unclear.
About 1,800 Japanese manufacturers operate in Thailand,
including Canon Inc , Pioneer and Sony Corp
Honda, Japan's No.3 automaker, said its car, motorcycle and
power product factories in Thailand will remain closed at least
until Oct. 31, in line with the government's calling of a
special five-day holiday to let people escape.
Nissan Motor Co said it expects to provide an
update for next week on Friday. Its Thai production has been
halted since Oct. 17.
With many car components exported from Thailand, the
disruption may spread to more regions for Nissan and Honda as
well, as inventories run out.
In September, before the floods began shutting car
factories, Toyota built about 70,700 vehicles in Thailand,
Nissan about 20,000 and Honda about 22,000.
Toyota shares in Tokyo ended up 2.2 percent, Nissan gained
4.2 percent and Honda rose 2.8 percent, while the benchmark
Nikkei average closed up 2.0 percent.