U.S. News

Toyota suspends output at Texas truck plant due to storm damage

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp temporarily halted production at its sprawling San Antonio pickup truck plant on Wednesday due to storm damage at the facility, which was hit by lashing rain and strong winds, a company spokesman said.

The plant sustained some roof damage that allowed water to enter the plant, Toyota Motor Manufacturing of Texas spokesman Mario Lozoya said. Production would be halted at least into Thursday, he added.

The problems began when a major storm blew through the region earlier in the day, knocking out electrical power at the plant, according to Lozoya.

“Now that we have some power back in some areas, we are starting to see the real damage, and a lot of it is water-related,” Lozoya said.

He says the first shift was told not to report on Wednesday, as managers went through the 2.2 million-square-foot (236,800- square-meter) facility inspecting the damage.

“Our concern is that there may be water in the electrical systems,” Lozoya said. “We want to make sure those things are safe.”

The National Weather Service said the area south of San Antonio, where the plant is located, reported winds of about 80 miles per hour (130 km per hour) during the storm, which dumped drenching rain and hail across the San Antonio area.

The Toyota plant, which opened about a decade ago, employs 2,600 people and builds the company’s full-sized Tundra pickups and mid-sized Tacoma pickups.

The trucks sold in Texas can come with a sticker reading “Born in Texas, Built by Texans.”

Reporting by Jim Forsyth; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by W Simon and Jonathan Oatis