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Toyota Production Halted in Japan Following Alleged Cyberattack

The move comes after a domestic supplier announced a 'system malfunction'

Toyota announced it is suspending factory operations in Japan after one of its domestic suppliers was hit by a suspected cyberattack.

The announcement impacts the production of all 28 lines across the company’s 14 plants in the country. The disruption will result in an estimated output loss of 13,000 cars.

The supplier, Kojima Industries Corp., announced on Feb. 28 that the alleged attack caused a “system malfunction” which prevent the company from monitoring its production or communicating with Toyota.

The company noted that nothing was wrong with the plastic parts and electronic components it produces. The parts are used in the air-conditioning, steering wheels, interiors and exterior of Toyota vehicles.

Tomohiro Takayama, a spokesman for Kojima, said in a statement that the supplier is working to fix the problem. 

“This has never happened before,” Takayama said. “We are not sure yet if it is a cyberattack, but we suspect it might be one.”

Neither Toyota nor Kojima have said when production may resume.

Toyota apologized to its customers in a news release this morning, per AP News.

“We will also continue to work with our suppliers in strengthening the supply chain and make every effort to deliver vehicles to our customers as soon as possible,” Toyota said.

One-third of the carmaker’s global production comes from its Japanese plants.

The company had to stop some production in North America in February due to the anti-mandate protest led by Canadian truckers, which slowed global supply chains.

Carmakers have also been struggling to meet demand after COVID-19 pandemic regulations led to an international semiconductor chip shortage. 

Toyota beat out General Motors to become the top-selling automaker in the United States in 2021. The record marked the first time in the nation’s history a non-American automaker outperformed all other competitors. GM had previously held the number one spot for 90 years, per CNBC.

Toyota was able to maintain production last year when other carmakers were not because the company amassed a stockpile of semiconductors.

News of the possible cyberattack came just after Japan followed Western nations and removed some Russian banks from SWIFT, the global secure messaging system for banks, on Feb. 27.

“It is difficult to say whether this has anything to do with Russia before making thorough checks,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters on Feb. 28.

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