Border chaos forces Toyota to shut UK and French factories over part shortage fears

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·2-min read
Toyota cars are lined up for sale on the forecourt of a Toyota dealer in Purley, south London, October 10, 2012. Toyota Motor Corp said it would recall more than 7.4 million vehicles worldwide as a faulty power window switch was a potential fire hazard, the latest in a series of setbacks that have dented the reputation of Japan's biggest automaker.  REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS)
Toyota halted production over fears the border shutdown will cause parts shortages. Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Winning.

International curbs on UK travel have forced carmaker Toyota (TYT.L) to temporarily shut its factories over expected shortages of parts.

The Japanese car giant said its engine factory in Deeside, Wales, was shut from Tuesday and its vehicle factory in Burnaston, near Derby, will close from Wednesday.

Toyota will also close its factory in Valenciennes in northern France. The company said the plants were closing earlier than planned for the Christmas break.

“In light of the traffic bans that a growing number of countries have issued for travel from the UK and due to the uncertain nature of how long the borders will be closed for logistics activities, Toyota Motor Europe has decided to come to a controlled stop of its production activities,” it said in a statement to Yahoo Finance UK.

READ MORE: Full list of countries banning UK flights and travel

Toyota’s UK plants were already due to close between Christmas Eve and 4 January, with re-opening still expected as normal in early January.

Shares in Toyota on the London Stock Exchange were trading 0.9% lower on Tuesday morning.

More than 40 countries worldwide have placed curbs on UK travel after London, the east and south-east of England were placed in strict lockdown to contain a new more viral strain of COVID-19.

Negotiations are ongoing between the UK and French governments in a bid to end France’s blockade on all UK arrivals, hitting a vital supply route and sparking tailbacks of hundreds of lorries.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) warned fresh fruit and vegetable supplies would face disruption unless the borders were re-opened from Wednesday.

READ MORE: France and UK still in border talks amid food and medicine shortage fears

Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) and Tesco (TSCO.L) also warned of shortages for these items in the run up to Christmas.

Carmakers and supermarkets typically run just-in-time supply chains, reliant on frictionless cross-border trade in Europe with only limited supplies stockpiled in reserve.

Honda had already halted production earlier this month over supply disruption, with several UK ports struggling to cope with higher global freight volumes and a surge of Brexit stockpiling and pre-Christmas shipping.

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