Japanese carmakers hit hard by Thailand floods image

Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi are the hardest hit Japanese carmakers by the catastrophic Thailand floods that swept the country since October 10. Honda is the most affected of all, as the company builds 5 percent of its entire production in Thailand.

A month after being inundated, the Honda factory situate north of Bangkok is still under 1.5 meters of water. Obviously, nothing can be done until the water retreats. “The whole area is now like a lake”, said Honda manager Hideto Maehara.

The company’s Thai plant, which makes the Accord, Civic and other hit models, has the capacity to make 240,000 vehicles a year. Honda has not released lost production numbers, but its Japanese plants are now operating at about 50 percent capacity, while North American units are at 50 percent to 75 percent of full capacity.

Deeply affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Toyota looks able to recover much more quickly after the Thailand flooding. The company announced it will resume production at its Thai plant on November 21, after almost a month and a half of pause. As of November 12, the floods had cost Toyota 150,000 vehicles in lost production, nearly 90,000 of that in Thailand and 40,000 in Japan. Suppliers of some 100 items were also affected, including resin and electronic parts.

Nissan, which builds the popular March subcompact in Thailand and imports it back to Japan, has stopped production on October 14 but looks set to resume partial production on November 14. Mitsubishi Motors said on Thursday its Thai plant will also restart production from November 14 but it will need more time for a full recovery in the supply of parts. The plant stopped producing vehicles on October 13.