Report: Toyota and Honda shut down Malaysia plants amid lockdown

JAPANESE carmakers, Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor have temporarily halted its operations at several plants in Malaysia, as the country was put under Movement Control Order (MCO) for 14-day to combat the surge in Covid-19 cases.

According to a report by Nikkei, Toyota has shut down two of its assembly plants on Thursday, stating that it will make a decision later on when the facilities will be reopened.

Meanwhile, Honda ceased production at two factories on Wednesday, in which one plant makes two-wheelers while the other produces four-wheel vehicles.  

It was also noted that the automaker plans to freeze operations until Jan 26, the date when the lockdown is due to be lifted.

Toyota has manufactured about 61,000 vehicles in Malaysia in 2019, including the Yaris subcompact and the Hilux pickup truck.  

Honda’s annual capacity in the market is 300,000 two-wheelers and 100,000 four-wheelers, including the Civic and Accord sedans.

National carmaker, Perodua which is backed by Japanese car company Daihatsu Motor had also discontinued production yesterday.

As of last year, Perodua sold 220,000 vehicles, holding the top market share exceeding 40%.

Malaysia has implemented another round of MCO on Wednesday to contain the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The lockdown order includes banning interstate and district travel, as well as disallowing people outside of essential industries from commuting to work.

It was initially reported that automakers were included in the list of essential industries, however the government has pulled the exemption and announced auto production to suspend their operations.

The auto production was also suspended during the previous MCO implemented in March 2020.

Malaysia is the third largest auto producer in Southeast Asia, behind Thailand and Indonesia.  

It was reported that output during the January to November period of last year fell 19% to roughly 430,000 vehicles.

However, carmakers had been on the road to recovery with the tax exemption offered by the government to stimulate the economy.

As a result, the auto production sector generally made better vehicle sales, which exceeded year-earlier numbers beginning in June. 

Previously it was also reported that Hyundai Motor Co is planning to move its regional headquarters (HQ) to Indonesia.

By : S BIRRUNTHA – TMR

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