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Toyota To Resume Hybrid Production; Honda Extends Shutdown

"Toyota Motor Corp. will resume production of three hybrid models in Japan on March 28, after an earthquake and tsunami shut down plants for two weeks," Bloomberg News says. But Honda "will extend closures at its two car assembly factories until April 3, spokesman Tomohiro Okada said today."

Dow Jones Newswires adds, however, that Toyota "cautioned that it remains unclear how long it will continue running production lines to make the Prius, the Lexus HS250h and the Lexus CT200h hybrids; Toyota said this depends on whether it will procure enough parts everyday after the restart, despite sending teams of engineers to suppliers in the quake-hit area to help them restore operations."

Nissan Motor Co. earlier announced that it "plans to resume auto and parts production at more Japanese factories next week, but [added that] it may be several months before inventories and other elements of the country's auto industry return to normal."

USA TODAY wrote Tuesday that demand in the U.S. for the Prius, Honda Fit and other fuel-efficient models made in Japan has been soaring — because of rising gasoline prices and fears of shortages.

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