Subaru announced its domestic production in January fell sharply after it was forced to temporarily shut down its operations due to a defective part, according to local reports.

The automaker said January production fell by almost 51% year on year to 21,953 units from planned levels while exports dropped 40% to 21,334 units. 

The company called a halt to production at its only plant in Japan, in Gunma Prefecture just north of Tokyo, on 16 January after it found a defect in the power steering systems or certain models. 

Production restarted on 28 January although the supply of parts remained "unstable", the company said. It hoped production would return to normal by the end of March once the defective part has been rectified by the supplier.

Subaru produced 659,965 vehicles in Japan in 2018, down 7%, while its domestic sales fell 18% to 148,453 units. The company is looking to cut output 2% to 650,000 units this year to help ensure it achieves minimum quality standards.

See also: Subaru Japan sales plunges 39.4% in January 2019

Woes hit Subaru nine-month results