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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Japanese automotive giants Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor have stopped operations at several assembly plants across Malaysia due to the reimplementation of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia, Toyota shut down two plants yesterday, with a representative saying that a decision on when they would reopen will be made later on.
Honda on the other hand, also stopped production at two factories — one produces two-wheel vehicles, and another four-wheel drives — on Wednesday and plans to freeze operations until the MCO is due to be lifted on January 26.
Perodua, the national automaker backed by Japanese car company Daihatsu Motor, also discontinued production on Thursday.
Perodua sold 220,000 vehicles last year, holding the top market share exceeding 40 per cent.
In 2019, Toyota manufactured approximately 61,000 vehicles in Malaysia, including the Yaris subcompact and the Hilux pickup truck.
Honda's annual capacity in the market is 300,000 two-wheelers and 100,000 four-wheelers, such as the Civic and Accord sedans.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Monday that a two-week MCO will be enforced in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Melaka, Johor and Sabah from January 13 to January 26.
Six others ― Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, and Kelantan ― have been placed under CMCO, while Perlis and Sarawak are currently in the recovery phase of the MCO.
Auto assembly was initially included in the list of essential industries, until officials pulled the exemption at the last minute on Tuesday evening. Auto production was suspended as well during the first lockdown implemented in March 2020.
Malaysia is the third largest auto producer in South-east Asia, behind Thailand and Indonesia. Output during the January-November period of last year fell 19 per cent to roughly 430,000 vehicles.