On March 23, Toyota suspended production at all 15 of the company's North American automobile and components plants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initially, the idea was to resume production two days later; however, the changing global landscape has continued to push back the date to reopen in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
On April 8, Toyota again extended the production suspension at all North American plants through May 1. The extension is also due to the decline in vehicle demand, but the automaker hopes to resume production on May 4.
According to Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, the company currently has 8,400 employees working from home as well as sparse personnel at regional offices around the U.S.
In a recent podcast, Carter said he expects Toyota to start to recover toward May. He remained "very confident" in the North American economy and said "the auto industry is one of the largest industries that really can lead the economy through recovery."
While production facilities have idled, the company's service parts operations and finished vehicle logistics centers remained open.
Carter added, "Since I've been in this position, I've been through numerous crises. At times, the challenges we've faced have felt insurmountable, but we've always pulled through."
On a positive note, some vehicle dealers in Wuhan, China, have been shocked by a quick auto sales rebound. While sales were near zero in February, some dealerships are already back up to pre-pandemic levels.