Toyota extends production slowdown at Ky. plant

The fallout from Japan's earthquake and tsunami continues its assault on Toyota and its plant in Georgetown. Today, the auto manufacturer announced plans to keep production at plants in United States slowed down through June 3.

The March 11 disaster in Japan -- the home of Toyota -- created delays and shortages of parts needed to manufacturer Toyota vechiles.

Because of the shortages, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. had already announced production suspensions on Mondays and Fridays through April 25. Because of continues delays, Toyota says it will continue the Monday and Friday production suspension pattern through June . During the same period, production will run at 50 percent on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

"We are trying to continue production as much as possible and keep our workforce intact in order to facilitate a smooth transition back to full production when all parts are available," said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of TEMA.

No layoffs are planned during this period. Team members will utilize non-production time for training and plant improvement activities.

Production plans beyond June 3 will be determined at a later date.

"Today's news from Toyota about reduced production for our Kentucky plant is concerning, but we recognize the extraordinary challenges Toyota faces in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami," said Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear in a statement following Toyota's announcement. "Toyota is an outstanding corporate citizen, and its employees are among the best in Kentucky. Toyota has worked hard to accommodate employees, and it is good to hear that there are no layoffs as part of this announcement. We stand prepared to assist in any way we can."

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