The triple disaster that hit Japan in March not only knocked out auto production in Japan, but have also affected overseas plants, which still rely on Japan for parts. Earlier this month, we reported that Perodua is on track for full recovery, and will maintain its 2011 sales targets. Now, news from Thailand indicates that Toyota’s Thai plants will see manufacturing go back to normal by next week, May 23.

This is due to parts suppliers in Thailand and abroad recovering faster than expected. A spokesman said the regular daily double shifts at each plant would resume and overtime production on each regular shift would be partly restored. The company has briefed its dealers, a move that suggests they could resume taking orders without fear.

Earlier, the Japanese giant announced a 70% production cut from April 25 to June 4. During the slowdown period, Toyota held intensive training courses and activities for its workers to improve their skills, said senior VP at Toyota Motor Thailand Vudhigorn Suriyachantananont.

Toyota, the largest producer in Thailand, runs three plants. One in Samrong, Samut Prakan province, makes 250,000 Hilux pickup trucks per year. The Gateway passenger car plant in Chachoengsao province rolls out 200,000 Camry, Prius, Altis, Vios and Yaris models while another in Ban Pho makes 120,000 Hilux and Fortuners annually. Some of these are exported to Malaysia, of course.