Toyota to resume full production by year's end  The natural disasters that struck Japan on March 11 caused a number of businesses operating within and outside of the country to struggle to find alternative suppliers as Japanese companies repaired damaged manufacturing facilities. According to a published report, the world's biggest automaker is nearing pre-disaster output levels after months of supply chain disruptions. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Toyota Motor Corp. said on Monday that it is on pace to resume full production within the next few months. According to company officials, in June the carmaker's production capacity nearly reached year-ago levels, bringing it a step closer to fully recovering from the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that caused significant damage to a number of its manufacturing plants.

Japanese automakers were hit hard by the natural disasters, but Nissan, Toyota and Honda have all reported in recent weeks that they are faring better as the year has gone on. Car companies were not the only businesses that were affected by the March 11 events, industry analysts assert, but the exceeding importance of Japanese companies in the global automobile market left carmakers throughout the globe reeling.

According to Toyota, its domestic output by volume dropped by roughly 16 percent in June from the same period in 2010 to 249, 660 vehicles. While the double-digit decline is still significant, it represents a big step forward from its April and May production levels. Toyota car capacity plummeted 54.4 percent in May and 78.4 percent in April from levels logged in 2010, according to data.

Toyota is benefiting from increased manufacturing capacity not only at its own production facilities, but also from its suppliers. Japanese companies are responsible for the production of a number of critical car components and while many of those firms suffered setbacks in March, they have since repaired facilities and are churning out goods at a faster clip, helping automakers around the world to recover more quickly.

Toyota is aggressively working to increase its manufacturing capacity this year as it endeavors to maintain its lead as the world's biggest carmaker. Company chief executive Akio Toyoda told investors and reporters at the company's shareholder meeting last month that he expected full capacity would be restored by as early as July.

The news from Toyota comes in the wake of similar announcements by other Japan-based carmakers, including Nissan. In May, Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said that the company was set to perform a final set of fixes on its production plants and that it planned to resume full capacity before the end of the year.

Toyota is also overhauling its business operations this year as it looks to increase its market share and emerge from the crisis stronger than before.

Still, some industry analysts contend that Nissan has adeptly navigated the crisis and could within the next few years become the largest automobile manufacturer in Japan. Nissan was the only one of the big Japanese carmakers to report that its domestic production in June topped year-ago levels.

The supply chain disruptions emanating from the natural disasters in Japan caused many carmakers across the globe to overhaul their strategic sourcing as they endeavored to achieve business cost reductions in the wake of mounting expenses.

While global car sales have climbed in the aftermath of the worst economic contraction since the Great Depression, many carmakers reported a dip in sales in May and June, citing the continuing problems in Japan. 
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