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Flooding at Toyota’s Prospecton plant. Picture: SUPPLIED
Flooding at Toyota’s Prospecton plant. Picture: SUPPLIED

Toyota SA will scrap all vehicles damaged during the floods at its Prospecton plant so that they do not make it into the retail chain.

The company said on Wednesday it is likely to lose about 45,000 units in production, “but has been encouraged by a series of small gains in its recovery process”.

About 12% of the 4,596 completed units on site had no damage and could be sold.

The south Durban plant suffered extensive damage during the floods a month ago, forcing Toyota SA to suspend operations.

CEO and president Andrew Kirby said the company was implementing “a careful and systematic phased plan to return the facility to working condition”.

It has resumed operations of its export line of catalytic converters and will, in the next few days, open the Hino assembly line.

“This has been a tremendous setback for the company, but we have extensive insurance coverage. We are also fortunate that our parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation, is supporting with all the cash flow challenges that we are likely to encounter.”

But it will take some time for the main lines — such as Hilux, Fortuner, Hiace, Corolla Cross and Corolla Quest — to reopen.

“We’ve been through the process of cleaning, drying and flushing. And now we are checking our equipment — repairing, powering up the control panels and ordering replacement parts where necessary.

“It’s not easy to predict when we will be able to restart,” said Kirby.

Sixty specialists and engineers have been sent from Japan to support the recovery of the plant.

“The facility’s flood-protection measures were effective up to a point and will be reinstated and enhanced. Toyota SA is working closely with the City of eThekwini to address the infrastructure shortfalls to prevent a recurrence of a similar disaster.”

Kirby said employees were receiving 50% of their wages, but Toyota SA was working with the government to provide UIF benefits.

No employees would lose their jobs.

TimesLIVE

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