Japanese Auto Groups to Create Fund to Survive Virus Pandemic

(Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda said Japan’s auto industry is banding together to avoid “fatal injury” as the coronavirus pandemic slams demand for cars and stymies production.

Toyoda, speaking as chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, said the industry is considering creating a fund carmakers can use to help retain technology and workers after lockdowns and global restrictions on travel and movements have choked off economic activity.

“Japan’s auto industry needs to avoid fatal injury and to avoid using up extra energy now,” Toyoda said in an online press briefing Friday. Losing essential technologies and skilled workers could kill the industry, he said.

Read more: Overview of Japanese Carmakers’ Plant Closures

The industry will need “a substantial amount of money” to create the fund, but its size is undecided, Toyoda said.

Automakers around the world have been laying off some workers as car buyers delay purchases and some production lines grind to a halt.

Japan’s vehicle makers are also contributing to efforts to secure medical equipment to help confront the pandemic, amid rising concern about shortages of ventilators and protective equipment for workers, Toyoda said.

Toyota has agreed to make masks for its own and use and to help secure at least 20,000 ventilators in Japan to help ensure patients can receive treatment.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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