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Key Toyota Plant Resumes Hybrid Battery Production

June 8, 2011

Toyota Motor Corp.'s hybrid battery affiliate, Primearth EV Energy, has restarted one of three production lines at its plant in Miyagi Prefecture, near the epicenter of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami that struck on March 11, according to AutoObserver.com.

The company, formerly Panasonic EV Energy, is controlled by Toyota and supplies the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in the company's Prius and other hybrids. At full capacity, the Miyagi plant produces nearly a third of the batteries used in Toyota's hybrids, and it also supplies nickel-metal batteries to Honda.

The plant is one of several operated by Primearth and while its closure three months ago did not cut off Toyota's battery supplies, it added to the quake-related parts shortages that have forced Toyota and Honda to operate well below full capacity.

Due to the real and perceived shortages, Prius sales in the U.S. fell in May to their lowest levels over five years. Primearth said the other two production lines at the Miyagi plant should be ready to restart in July.

The impacts of the Japan disaster on the automotive industry take center in F&I and Showroom’s June issue. Click here to view the article.

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