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Japan’s Toyota suspends operations at Russia plant

TOKYO (AFP) – Toyota said yesterday it would suspend operations at its only factory in Russia and stop shipping vehicles to the country, citing “supply chain disruptions” linked to Moscow’s assault on Ukraine. The world’s top-selling carmaker said its plant in Saint Petersburg produced around 80,000 vehicles last year, mainly for the Russian market and representing just a fraction of the 10.5 million vehicles made worldwide by the Japanese group.

The Saint Petersburg plant employs around 2,600 people, a Toyota spokeswoman told AFP, confirming the supply disruption was linked to the conflict.

Toyota has no factories in Ukraine but said sales operations in the country had been suspended since February 24, when Moscow launched its assault.

Western governments, sporting organisations and big companies have cut Russia off or dealt it punishing sanctions over the internationally condemned attack. And other Japanese firms announced yesterday that they were halting or altering business as a result of the situation.

Honda said it had suspended all exports to Russia “until further notice”, though the firm only exports around 3,000 cars and motorbikes a year to the country.

Mazda, which sold around 29,000 vehicles in Russia last year, said it had stopped reserving containers for shipments to the country and would continue operating its joint venture factory in Vladivostok until parts run out.

Others were more cautious, with Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors saying they were reviewing the situation. Japanese airlines are also being forced to adapt to tit-for-tat airspace closures, with Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways cancelling some routes and rerouting others to avoid Russia, adding hours to some flights.

A Toyota dealership in Moscow, Russia. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

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