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Toyota To Keep China Plants Closed Over Coronavirus

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Japanese automaker Toyota said its auto plants in China will remain closed until February 16 due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to reports.

A Toyota spokesperson was quoted as saying that that the company is preparing for the return to normal operations from February 17.

Toyota, the world's second largest automaker, had initially planned to resume operations in early February after the Lunar New Year holidays, but decided in late January to continue the suspension of operations until at least Monday, February 10.

The closure affects 12 plants operated by Toyota in mainland China with joint venture partners GAC Motor and FAW Group These include four car manufacturing plants, and eight plants that manufacture components.

China is the world's biggest auto market. Toyota produced about 1.4 million vehicles for the Chinese market in 2019, representing an increase of more than 6 percent from the prior year.

The factories of other major automakers in China also continue to remain closed since late January as authorities in China try to halt the spread of the virus.

Automaker Honda Motor too said it plans to resume production at its plants in China from the week starting February 17. South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor intends to resume operations at its Chinese factories on February 17.

Automakers remain concerned whether they can return to full production in China after reopening due to potential supply chain disruptions following the coronavirus outbreak.

China's National Health Commission said Friday that the death toll in the country related to the coronavirus outbreak has risen to 636, while the number of people infected increased to 31,161.

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