As if we didn’t already have a car shortage problem…
On Monday at 7 pm Japan time, the largest automaker in the world, Toyota, announced it was the victim of a cyberattack. As a result, the company had to shut down all plant operations for Tuesday as its supply management system and subsidiaries were affected.
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The production suspension affects 28 assembly lines in 14 factories located only in Japan. Toyota estimates the stoppage will affect about 13,000 vehicles at a time when shortages are common.
Toyota has issued an official press release stating it will resume all operations starting with the first shift on Wednesday, March 2. The plan is to access a backup network between it and suppliers. Restoring the original system is estimated to take a week or two.
Both Daihatsu and Hino Motors, subsidiaries of Toyota, have halted operations at some of their plants as well. Also targeted in the cyberattack was Kojima Industries, a plastic components manufacturer and supplier for Toyota. The company is still assessing the extent of the damage done by the attack.
While nobody has been able to pinpoint the origin of the cyberattack, the timing is suspicious. Japan just joined in with other countries in putting into place financial and economic sanctions against Russia, thanks to the Ukraine invasion. Sensing potential problems, the Japanese government warned domestic companies to be on guard for possible cyberattacks, only for one of its largest corporations to be targeted hours later.
Russian ambassador to Japan Mikhail Yurlevich Galuzin said in an interview on Japanese TV last week there would be “consequences” if Japan were to impose sanctions on Russia. He didn’t elaborate what exactly that meant, but many considered it to be a threat.
According to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, his government is investigating the cyberattack. They hope to establish whether or not Russia was involved and why Toyota was specifically targeted.
For now, no other automakers have reported cyberattacks. However, everyone is anxiously awaiting news that the already struggling industry could be knocked back on its heels again.