Toyota has been scrambling to get back on its feet since the deadly earthquake and tsunami ravaged northeastern Japan back in March. Damaged factories resulted in parts shortages and production delays that eventually led to declining sales numbers, but the automaker is now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“We are restoring [production] at fast speeds despite ongoing aftershocks,” Akio Toyota, the current president of Toyota and grandson of the company’s founder, told reporters during a visit to South Korea.
Toyota is recovering faster than anticipated, with output in June likely to reach 90 percent of pre-quake levels. That is much better than the 70 percent predicted last month; then, Toyota said 30 parts were in short supply, versus about 150 in April.
This news comes at a good time, as sales numbers for Toyota have continued to fall in markets like South Korea, where Lexus sales took a nosedive at 51 percent in April compared to a year ago. Last year, Toyota sold a combined 10,486 Lexus and other models in the South Korea.
The company saw more of this pattern among other overseas markets: 38,500 cars were sold in China during May, 35 percent less than a year ago. In the U.S., its main foreign market, sales in May dropped 33 percent.
Toyota took the biggest hit out of the top three Japanese automakers due to the higher percentage of Japan-built vehicles it sells in the U.S. market — it builds 38 percent of its cars in Japan compared with 25 percent at Nissan and Honda.