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Toyota extends China plant closure over virus

The Japanese firm had previously said the plants would be mothballed until February 9/AFP

TOKYO, Japan, Feb 7 – Japanese auto giant Toyota said Friday it would keep its Chinese factories shut until February 16, extending its suspension by a week amid the growing coronavirus crisis.

“After considering various factors including guidelines from local and regional governments… we’ve decided to continue our suspension of production at all Toyota plants in China until February 16,” spokesman Aaron Fowles told AFP.

The Japanese firm had previously said the plants would be mothballed until February 9.

The virus has now claimed more than 630 lives, mainly in China, but has also spread to several other countries and played havoc with global supply chains.

Fowles said Toyota would make further decisions on whether to extend the suspension depending on the developing virus situation. “As for production in other countries we are currently investigating if there will be any impact,” he added.

Fiat Chrysler boss Mike Manley told the Financial Times on Thursday that his firm could halt production at a European plant because of supply problems from China — which would be the first for a European car manufacturer.

South Korea’s Hyundai has also suspended operations at its giant five-plant Ulsan complex, the most productive car factory in the world.

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