Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it expects global output in September to fall by 360,000 units, or some 40 percent from its initial plan, to about 540,000 vehicles due to a global chip crunch and the spread of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia.

The major automaker unveiled plans to suspend 27 production lines at 14 plants in Japan for up to 22 days by the end of September. Despite the production cuts, Toyota will keep its production target of 9.3 million vehicles for fiscal 2021 through next March.

Automakers have production bases in Southeast Asian nations such as Thailand and Vietnam. Toyota said it has faced difficulties securing parts due to the spread of COVID-19 in the region.

The Toyota vehicles produced at the plants include the Yaris compact, the Prius hybrid and the RAV4 compact crossover SUV.

In the April-June quarter, Toyota reported a record net profit, buoyed by robust sales in its key markets like North America and China.

But the major automaker left its earnings forecasts unchanged for the year through next March as the spread of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia, the semiconductor shortage and surging raw material costs have made the outlook unpredictable.

The global shortage of semiconductors has clouded the outlook for the auto industry that has so far benefited from increased auto demand in step with the reopening of overseas economies.

Besides Toyota, other automakers like Honda Motor Co. have also been forced to curb production. Nissan Motor Co. has estimated that annual output will fall by around 250,000 units for fiscal 2021.

Toyota had weathered the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and was relatively unscathed by the semiconductor shortage compared with its rivals. In the first six months of 2021, Toyota retained its crown as the world's best-selling automaker, outpacing Germany's Volkswagen AG.