Toyota Prius production line in Japan

With the exception of the facility that makes the Prius, Toyota plants in Japan have been closed following the earthquake disaster in Japan, but that is scheduled to change by April 18. The Associated Press is reporting that Toyota will resume production that day, though assembly lines will only work at half speed. The plants will run through April 27, when they will close again until May 9 to honor Japan's Golden Week holiday. That's a fairly short production window, but the move is likely welcome news to Toyota's rank and file. The automaker has already lost 260,000 units since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Toyota's plan to restart production comes as the automaker continues to struggle to procure parts needed for production. Toyota's parts situation has improved, however, as the AP reports that problem part counts have gone from 500 to under 150.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda acknowledges that parts supply issues are still hurting the automaker, but adds "we are doing our utmost to improve the conditions so that we can deliver cars to many customers."

[Source: Associated Press via Daily Tribune | Image: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty]