Toyota RAV4 production cut again, this time by bad weather

Heavy rain damage at a key supplier has impacted Toyota RAV4 production in Japan, amidst ongoing stock shortages.

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Toyota has flagged further factory suspensions in Japan around the end of July, affecting the hugely in-demand and wait-list-affected RAV4 mid-sized SUV.

The additional production “adjustments” detailed in the TMC bulletin say three lines at two Japanese plants have been/will be closed between July 27 and 29, solely affecting the RAV4 and related Harrier – a more upscale spinoff sold in Japan and the US (as the Venza).

Rather than the usual suspects of COVID and lack of semiconductors, TMC has blamed heavy rain damage at a key parts supplier in Aichi Prefecture. It says the number of affected units will be approximately 4000 units – so it’s not a huge impact.

Nevertheless, with certain grades of RAV4 hybrid subject to wait times in Australia of around 18 months, any factory snags have the potential to exacerbate a bad situation.

“As it remains difficult to look ahead due to the shortage of semiconductors and the spread of COVID-19, there is a possibility that the production plan may be lower,” TMC added.

“However, we will examine the parts supply closely to minimise sudden decreases in production, and continue to make every effort possible to deliver as many vehicles to our customers at the earliest date.”

Background

This latest production cut announcement comes one week after the last one.

Toyota said last week that it would need to suspend production at nine lines across six of its Japanese plants during August, slashing planned output for next month by about 150,000 cars.

The company blamed ongoing COVID-related parts shortages in its supply chain, and the ever-present lack of semiconductors. Global August production is expected to hit approximately 700,000 cars, down from the 850,000 it intended to make when first briefing suppliers.

Vehicles affected will include the RAV4LandCruiser 70 and 300 SeriesCorollaCamryC-HR, and bZ4x, as well as the related Subaru Solterra. The Lexus LX is also set to be affected.

Toyota Motor Corp has in fact been slashing its production all year – having posted more than 20 production bulletins and subsequent amendments since January.

Toyota Australia dealers navigating ongoing chronic stock shortages are telling some customers to prepare for multi-year wait times on core models including LandCruiser, RAV4 and Camry.

Printed-out guidelines of expected customer wait times are being offered by several east coast dealers, subject to change based on the Toyota build process. We saw some of these guidelines on car forums, while others we’ve seen ourselves.

Multiple dealers are telling customers to expect waits of around 18-24 months on a newly ordered Toyota RAV4 hybrid and 12-24 months on a Toyota Camry hybrid – two cars in huge demand on account of today’s record fuel prices.

This writer knows several people who were quoted 18-month waits on their RAV4 hybrids over the past few weeks, so this one checks out.

The average suggested lead times on the LandCruiser 300 Series are likewise listed as 18-24 months – we know the related Lexus LX also has year-long waits as well – while the LandCruiser 70 is listed as subject to wait times of four years, “or never”.

This lattermost figure might be hyperbole, and was contested by TMC.

For its part, Toyota Australia acknowledges the long waits but says there’s not really a one-size-fits-all timeframe, because each dealership has different pipelines.

“Demand for new vehicles is at unprecedented levels. In Australia, to support the strong demand, Toyota Australia been working closely with our global production teams to secure as many vehicles for our market as possible,” it said recently.

“Wait times vary depending on the model, variant and specification requirements of each customer. The RAV4 Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, LandCruiser 70 and LandCruiser 300 are in particularly high demand and currently have longer wait times.

“Due to the evolving nature of this situation, Toyota dealers are best placed to continue to provide updates to customers on delivery timeframes for individual orders.”

Toyota Australia has removed the customer web order tracking feature from its website, instead telling customers to contact their “selling dealer” for arrival updates.

In separate but related news, Toyota Motor Corporation Australia turned a $249 million after-tax profit for the 2021-22 financial year.

Comprising Toyota Australia, Lexus Australia and Revolution (software services) operations, the result also included proceeds from the sale of the Chatswood Toyota dealership in Sydney.

Financial year sales by Toyota and Lexus rose by 6.2 per cent to 234,091 vehicles combined, representing more than one out of every five new vehicles sold in Australia (22.3 per cent).

“… Unprecedented demand for our vehicles, combined with the global automotive industry’s shortages of semiconductors and other components due to COVID supply chain challenges, has unfortunately resulted in extended customer wait times for many vehicles,” said TMCA president and CEO Matthew Callachor.

“Toyota apologises sincerely for the inconvenience being experienced by affected customers, and thanks them for their loyalty and patience.

“I want to assure them that we and our global production teams are doing everything in our power to secure the maximum number of vehicles for our market and as quickly as possible.”

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the News Editor at CarExpert.

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