Japan Earthquake: Automotive industry Wednesday update image

According to Japan’s Auto Dealer Association, in March, because of the quake and tsunami that crippled the country and the industry, 37 percent less cars were sold, compared to March 2010.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker has halted vehicle assembly at all but two of the 18 group-wide factories in Japan that build Toyota and Lexus cars since the March 11.

“There will be no resumption of production at most of our domestic factories next week,” a Toyota spokeswoman said. The company will announce its decisions as they are made, the company said.

Jim Wiseman says North American Toyota manufacturers will likely face a shortage of parts from Japan, and that will likely lead to some or all of the 13 factories halting production until new parts arrive, but no further decisions have been made.

“We’ve said it’s likely and we continue to think that,” he says. “But beyond that, we don’t really have anything to add at this point until we’re sure how to deal with shortages that may occur.”

Honda said the company will cut car production from May at its factory in northern India as some of its parts suppliers in Japan are yet to fully resume operations after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami forced them to close facilities.

Also, portable power generators made by Honda Motor Co., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (7270) and Yamaha Motor Co. are running out after Japan’s largest earthquake crippled production while simultaneously stoking demand.
Honda Motor Co Ltd aims to restart production at all domestic plants this coming Monday.

While Nissan Americas will operate an April schedule which is reduced from original plan, it will work to recover lost production throughout the balance of its fiscal year to minimize the net effect to its production volumes.

Non-production days moved forward into April will include:
– Apr. 8, 11 and 18-21 at the Smyrna and Decherd, TN and Canton, MS facilities
– Apr. 4-8 at the Cuernavaca, Mexico facility
– Apr. 11-15 at the Aguascalientes, Mexico facility

Nissan, Japan’s second-largest automaker, estimates its loss of production to be around 55,000 vehicles.

“Nissan has an engine plant in Iwaki City, which is in the earthquake zone and it suffered some very serious damage,” says Mitsuru Yonezawa from Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo. “It’s a little inland from the coast though, so it didn’t get hit by the tsunami and there were no injuries. We’re aiming at having the plant back running at close to full capacity by the end of April.”

Subaru says it will start making full-sized cars tomorrow ( Apr 7 ), for the first time since last month’s Japan earthquake shut down production.

Hiroshima -based Mazda resumed partial production of replacement and overseas parts in Hiroshima and Hofu plants on March 22.