A ‘mountain of repairs to be made’ – Toyota SA CEO

Senior VP says there are plans in place to prioritise existing orders for locally-built models.
The company has requested extra imported units to compensate for the temporary lack of locally-built models. Image: Motor Industry Staff Association

Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) indicated on Friday that it is still unable to confirm when production will resume at its plant, following extensive damage caused by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal.

Production at the Prospecton plant south of Durban has been suspended since April 11.

Read:
Toyota suspends production at its Durban plant due to flooding
Toyota confirms extensive flood damage at its Durban plant

TSAM said it is currently implementing a systematic and meticulous phased plan to return its plant to working condition after suffering extensive flood damage two weeks ago. This approach is designed to ensure a safe start-up, without any potential secondary issues.

The company said clean-up operations are progressing at a pace in different areas, with the first three phases including:

  • The establishment of temporary utilities at the plant;
  • Cleaning up; and
  • Powering up the machinery.

TSAM said that once the trial power-up stage is reached, certain areas of the facility will then be able to move to phase four, which involves an accurate assessment and equipment check.

Andrew Kirby, president and CEO of TSAM, said it is only once they commence with this phase that they will “be able to adequately judge the realistic lead time to resume production”.

“As you can imagine, there will be a mountain of repairs to be made, along with many parts that will need to be ordered.

“It would therefore be irresponsible of us to call a start-up date until we have the full picture.

“We anticipate firming up dates within the next week,” he said.

Rival’s speculation

A senior executive of a rival local vehicle manufacturer has claimed that production at TSAM’s plant in Prospecton will only resume in about four months.

The executive, who did not want to be named, said the floods had caused an estimated R2.8 billion in damage to TSAM’s plant.

TSAM did not respond directly to a request from Moneyweb more than a week ago to confirm or deny these claims and to a number of other questions.

Local delivery

 TSAM senior vice president Leon Theron confirmed that delivery of locally-built models will be impacted in the short term, but assured customers that plans have been put into place to prioritise existing orders.

“We really appreciate the patience exhibited by our customers.

“Yes, Hilux, Fortuner, Corolla Cross and Quest orders are going to take a little longer but please be assured that they will be filled the moment our new supply kicks in,” said Theron.

“As far as imported models go, it’s business as usual. In fact, we have requested extra units to compensate for the temporary lack of availability of locally-built models,” he said.

Read:
Government’s new energy vehicle policy delayed further
New Toyota hybrid part of R2.5bn Durban investment

Kirby expressed gratitude for the support TSAM has received from its dealers and suppliers, local and national government, and its staff.

Parent company support

Kirby singled out parent company Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) of Japan for its swift response to this emergency.

“TSAM’s recovery is currently the number-one priority for TMC, as demonstrated by more than 50 maintenance and engineering experts on site, with more arriving next week,” he said.

The suspension of production at TSAM’s plant has also had knock-on effects on its suppliers.

Read: KZN floods: Key lessons

National Association of Automotive Component and Allied Manufacturers (Naacam) executive director Renai Moothilal confirmed last month that automotive component suppliers had been impacted by the floods and several suppliers had shut down their operations. He was unable to name the affected companies.

Metair’s comments

JSE-listed automotive components and energy storage solutions manufacturer Metair Investments, a major supplier to TSAM, declined a Moneyweb request for an interview on the impact of the suspension of production at TSAM’s plant on Metair’s operations.

Metair instead released a statement from its management team in which it said the direct impact of the flooding on the company’s operations has been minimal, with no real damage to facilities.

However, without mentioning TSAM by name, Metair confirmed the company’s operations have not been running optimally “due to flood recovery efforts that are still underway at our major customer”.

“We are supporting our employees and customers as best we can and remain in close communication with them.

“The full extent of the damage, disruptions and impact is currently being assessed by the company. We are monitoring the situation closely and will have further information in due course,” it said.

Metair said its management team will provide updates when there are new details available to share.

AUTHOR PROFILE

COMMENTS   1

You must be signed in and an Insider Gold subscriber to comment.

SUBSCRIBE NOW SIGN IN

A R20bn damage bill I am told. Some say Toyota may never re start assembly. Who knows?

End of comments.

LATEST CURRENCIES  

USD / ZAR
GBP / ZAR
EUR / ZAR
BTC / USD

Podcasts

Instrument Details  

You do not have any portfolios, please create one here.
You do not have an alert portfolio, please create one here.
INSIDER SUBSCRIPTION APP VIDEOS RADIO / LISTEN LIVE SHOP OFFERS WEBINARS NEWSLETTERS TRENDING

Follow us: