Toyota Motor Corp. on Friday slashed its global production outlook for the current fiscal year through March by about 300,000 units from its initial plan to around 9 million vehicles due to the spread of COVID-19 and a semiconductor crunch.

Toyota has been forced to curb output as it has faced difficulties in securing parts as the pandemic has affected suppliers in Southeast Asia, a manufacturing hub for the Japanese auto industry, adding to the chip woes already hitting automakers hard.

In September, Toyota is expected to manufacture around 470,000 units, down from the earlier planned 540,000. In October, it plans to make around 550,000 cars, down from 880,000.

Toyota said the outlook from November remains "unclear" but maintained its current output plan.

The production cuts come amid robust demand in its key markets like China and North America that has lifted Toyota's bottom line. The automaker maintained its earnings forecasts for fiscal 2021.

Through its supply chain control, Toyota, the world's biggest automaker by volume, is seen as having weathered the impact of the pandemic and the chip crunch relatively well.

But surging COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asian nations such as Malaysia and Vietnam have led the company to review its production plan.

Other automakers like Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. have been similarly cutting output to cope with the shortage of semiconductors. Chips are used in a variety of products including laptops and game consoles and the pandemic has boosted their demand.

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