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Toyota suspends Prospecton plant operations after flood damage

20 April 2022 - 17:40
An aerial photograph shows the extent of the flood damage to Toyota SA's Prospecton production facility.
An aerial photograph shows the extent of the flood damage to Toyota SA's Prospecton production facility.
Image: Supplied

Toyota SA on Wednesday announced it has suspended activities at its flood-damaged manufacturing plant in Prospecton, KwaZulu-Natal, while an assessment and clean-up operations takes place. The carmaker said this will be extended when the production facility enters the reparation phase.

Though the plant, south of Durban, received several plumbing upgrades to mitigate water damage after the floods of 2017, these countermeasures were not enough to cope with the floods after the banks of the Mlazi River broke on April 12. 

The damage caused to the plant has not yet been quantified, though Toyota SA said a more accurate forecast on the resumption of production would be provided once assessments were completed.

From a sales perspective, this natural disaster has impacted on the carmaker's ability to deliver new vehicles. Of the water-damaged vehicles assessed, 500 have passed inspection and will be retailed. The remainder — Toyota did not confirm how many — will have to be scrapped.

Of the total number of water-damaged vehicles assessed, 500 units have passed inspection and will be retailed. The remainder will be scrapped.
Of the total number of water-damaged vehicles assessed, 500 units have passed inspection and will be retailed. The remainder will be scrapped.
Image: Supplied

Leon Theron, senior vice-president of sales and marketing, said customers whose vehicles were destroyed would be prioritised.

“This will be easier to facilitate with imported CBU vehicles, as these are sourced from other plants. There is a pipeline for all imported vehicles, but we will try to increase this supply to make up for the units lost."

“Locally-produced models, such as the Hilux, are more of a challenge and we will contact customers to inform them of the delays in production," said Theron.

While no staff died of injuries, Toyota SA extended condolences to the families who suffered loss in the flooding.

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