Suspected cyberattack causes major disruption for Toyota

Toyota has suspended operations at all of its factories in Japan following a suspected cyberattack on one of its suppliers.

The world’s top-selling automaker announced on Monday evening that 28 lines at its 14 domestic factories, which account for about a third of Toyota’s global production, will stay closed for at least the whole of Tuesday, causing a production loss of around 13,000 vehicles.

The suspected cyberattack targeted Kojima Industries, which supplies Toyota with electronic components and plastic parts. Few details have been released about the specific nature of the attack.

In a short statement on its website, Toyota said: “We apologize to our relevant suppliers and customers for any inconvenience this may cause,” adding: “We will also continue to work with our suppliers in strengthening the supply chain and make every effort to deliver vehicles to our customers as soon as possible.”

Investigators are currently trying to learn more about the incident and whether there was a specific motive. It came just hours after Japan joined a growing number of countries imposing sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, with Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida confirming his government is trying to determine if Russia was involved, according to an Asahi Shimbun report.

Toyota, like most automakers, relies on a just-in-time method of manufacturing where the supply chain operates to an extremely tight time schedule in order to keep factories operating at maximum efficiency. It means that delivered parts head straight to the production line instead of being stockpiled. As a result of running such a tightly controlled operation, even a small interruption to the supply chain can cause significant and rapid disruption.

Toyota’s latest production woes come as the carmaker and rival firms continue to grapple with supply chain disruptions caused by a global chip shortage that began during the pandemic. In December, the Japanese car giant announced that as a result of the shortage it would suspend operations on seven domestic production lines at five factories throughout the first month of 2022.

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