Toyota plant worker

In this file photo from 2018, a team member works on the production line at Toyota Mississippi's auto manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi. 

BLUE SPRINGS • The Toyota Mississippi assembly plant will begin a three-week production break starting Monday.

Toyota, the world's largest automaker by volume, announced last month it would reduce global production for September by 40%, to about 360,00 vehicles.

Vehicle supply parts shortages on top of a tight supply of chips have forced automakers around the world to slash production. 

Addressing the production reduction last month, Toyota said, "While the situation remains fluid and complex, our manufacturing and supply chain teams have worked diligently to develop countermeasures to minimize the impact on production ... the situation remains very fluid. We do not anticipate any impact to employment at this time."

At the Blue Springs plant, team members were originally going to take a two-week break. A third week was later adding, pushing the production restart to Sept. 27.

Employees have three options during this stretch: they can take unpaid leave without penalty; they can come to work, and work will be provided; or they can take paid time off. 

The plant will have several volunteer projects for team members during the production halt as well.

Other automakers also have paused production.

General Motors announced Thursday that it would stop production at eight of its 15 North American assembly plants during the next two weeks, including two that make the company's top-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

Ford will stop making pickups at its Kansas City Assembly Plant for the next two weeks. Shifts will be cut at two more truck plants in Dearborn, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky.

Industry analysts say the delta variant of the novel coronavirus has hit employees at chip factories in southeast Asia hard, forcing some plants to close. That's worsened a chip shortage that was starting to improve earlier in the summer.

Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, shut down its Ram truck assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, this week due to the chip shortage. The company’s Belvidere, Illinois, small-SUV plant and a minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario, are down for two weeks.

Nissan, which announced in mid-August that chip shortages would force it to close its huge factory in Smyrna, Tennessee, for two weeks until Aug. 30, has extended the closure until Sept. 13.

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