- The Toyota plant south of Durban has suffered extensive damage during recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
- Toyota customers can expect delays in delivery of locally produced models such as the Toyota Hilux.
- About 500 water-damaged vehicles have passed inspection and will be retailed, while the rest will be scrapped.
Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has suffered extensive damage at its plant south of Durban during the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal and customers can expect delays in the delivery of locally produced models such as the popular Toyota Hilux.
Activities at the plant have been suspended while assessment and clean-up operations take place.
In October last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa presided over the official opening of the Corolla Cross hybrid production line at Toyota's plant in Prospecton. The plant also manufactures its Fortuner, Corolla Quest and Hi-Ace models.
The damage caused by the natural disaster has impacted Toyota's immediate ability to deliver vehicles. Of the total number of water-damaged vehicles assessed, about 500 units have passed inspection and will be retailed. The remainder will be scrapped, Toyota said in a statement on Wednesday. The total number of vehicles to be scrapped has not yet been determined, the company told Fin24.
Customers whose vehicles were destroyed, will be prioritised.
"This will be easier to facilitate with imported CBU [completely built-up] vehicles as these are sourced from other plants. Of course, there is a pipeline for all imported vehicles, but we will try to increase this supply in order to make up for the units lost," said Leon Theron, TSAM's senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Following floods in KZN in 2017, TSAM put numerous upgrades in place to mitigate future occurrences. These included the installation of pumps and piping within the plant to disperse water as well as maintaining water-drainage channels surrounding the facility.
"These countermeasures worked successfully at keeping the flood waters at bay, but were unfortunately no match for the mass of water that breached the facility when the banks of the Mlazi River broke," according to TSAM.
When widespread unrest and looting broke out in KZN in July this year, Toyota's manufacturing operations were forced to close for more than a week. Exporting vehicles from the plant was impacted, as well as the ability to make deliveries to Gauteng due to the closure of the N3.
The Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) warned last week that, because of the impact of the floods, including on the Durban port, motorists will now have to wait even longer for imported parts to repair their vehicles.