Toyota Lifts Lockout at Indian Factories After Wage Dispute

Toyota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automaker, said it will resume production in India after an impasse with union workers over wages led to a temporary lockout and halt in assembly work.

The carmaker’s Toyota Kirloskar Motor venture told Indian authorities that work will restart at its factories near Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, on March 24, the company said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The shutdown began March 16 after labor disruptions and threats to management.

Workers can return to their posts “after signing a simple undertaking on good conduct,” the company said in the statement.

Toyota called for the lockout after a breakdown in negotiations that began last year. The Toyota City, Japan-based company has built vehicles in Asia’s third-largest economy since 1999. The company’s India facilities build the Camry, Corolla Altis and Etios cars, the Innova van and the Fortuner sport utility vehicle.

Auto sales in India are headed for the first annual drop since the fiscal year ended March 2002, as slowing economic growth, rising interest rates and unstable fuel prices hurt demand. Toyota’s deliveries there declined 19 percent to 22,194 vehicles in the first two months of this year, according to statements on the company’s website.

Toyota’s American depositary receipts fell 1 percent to $107.61 at the close in New York yesterday. On March 19, the automaker agreed to pay a $1.2 billion penalty to end a U.S. criminal probe after the recall of more than 10 million vehicles. The ADRs have fallen 12 percent this year.

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