Toyota has been forced to drastically cut production at its UK factory in Burnaston due to a shortage of parts following the devastating earthquake in Japan last month.

From May 3rd the plant will reduce its work schedule to just three half days a week. For two days a week the facility will close completely.

The reduction in output is necessary to manage the reduced supply of vital parts from Japan, and is intended to last until at least the end of next month.

Toyota has already confirmed that it plans to cut production in North America and China by up to 70 per cent until June.

According to a company spokesman, the global reduction in output is likely to lead to a shortfall of just over half a million new cars.

Japan's other major manufacturers, Nissan and Honda, have also been blighted by parts shortages and delays.

Nissan's huge Sunderland plant will use the double bank holiday weekends as an excuse to close from Good Friday until May Day, and Honda has cut production at its Swindon facility in half.