Toyota says it is too early to make an assessment whether or not any of its plants have been damaged in this morning’s (11 March) huge earthquake off the coast off Japan.

Television pictures show the 8.9 magnitude earthquake triggering an enormous tsunami that has slammed into Japan’s North-East coast near Sendai causing massive damage.

The earthquake epicentre – believed to have struck 20 miles underground – lies around 250 miles north of Tokyo, although Toyota is still assessing any potential damage.

Calls to Toyota in Tokyo went unanswered but a spokesman for the automaker’s European headquarters in Brussels told just-auto: “I understand it is quite a large area but we have no details.

“We have a new assembly plant in that region [Sendai] north of Tokyo. “Toyota [Japan] will update us when it has some reports to make.”

Pictures from Japan show a huge wall of water flooding inland with boats being smashed against bridges and vast swathes of land devastated.

Reports indicate the tsunami warning has been extended to the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Pacific coast of Russia and Hawaii.

Toyota said further details were expected later.