Toyota Adding Shifts in Texas, Hopes To Increase Tacoma, Tundra Inventory

Toyota is still playing catch up with its truck inventory because of the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last year. The automaker will add Saturday shifts starting January 21 at its truck plant in Texas, which builds both the compact Tacoma and the full-size Tundra pickups. "The effects of the tsunami have run its course and we are back to rolling at full capacity of production," said Brandyn Moore, a spokeswoman for the plant, told Automotive News on Tuesday. "We are trying to catch back up and get the trucks back on inventory lots for the dealers." Many of Toyota’s global plants suffered shortages of sensors and specialty paint because of the March 2011 earthquake which also brought a tsunami and nuclear crisis to Japan. After the natural disasters, the San Antonio plant was idled twice for three-week periods. The plant that builds the Tundra and about half of the Tacoma pickups only ran three-day weeks for 11 weeks last summer. Toyota Tacoma pickup sales were up 10.7 percent in December, but Tundra sales were down 9.7 percent. "December sales were very good for the Tundra and Tacoma markets, so because of that, we have a recovery Saturday set for this weekend and possibly some more in March," Moore said. Toyota hopes inventory will be back up to its optimum dealer inventory target of around 70 days by the end of March. The automaker currently has only a 40 day supply of midsize Tacoma pickups, but has a strong 70 day supply of full-size Tundra trucks. Source: Automotive News

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