Disaster in Japan Will Impact Supply of Fuel Efficient Vehicles in Mississippi and Nationally

March 23rd, 2011 by

Every automaker worldwide will be affected by the disaster in Japan by late April, according to a report issued March 21, by automotive forecasters IHS Global Insight of Northville, Japanese Crisis Will Create Ripples Throughout Entire Industry.

Michael Robinet, IHS’s Director of Automotive Forecast reports “It is not a matter of if, but when,” in an analysis of the impact of the disaster that halted domestic vehicle production and affected the parts supply chain.

IHS calculates Japan’s lost production at a minimum of 337,000 vehicles by the end of this week, because all plants in that country have been idled since the earthquake and 450,000 by the end of March, if all remain closed. The daily production loss is about 37,000 cars and trucks.

Automobile Manufacturers continue to determine damages to parts suppliers for Japan vehicle production. The Automakers have released limited information regarding Japanese production, the effect if any on North American production of Asian transplant and US domestic vehicles has not been reported.

This will result in shortages of new fuel efficient vehicles just as demand is increased by the rapid increasing price of fuel. Mississippi Honda shoppers planning a purchase before the end of summer should act now to take advantage of current selection and incentives. A prolonged disruption caused by the earthquake is likely to cause automakers to reduce incentives and end interest rate subsidies.

Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. extended factory shutdowns through at least this weekend, while a few smaller Japanese automakers resumed limited production following Japan’s March 11 earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Honda and Toyota, stated that parts shortages would keep their factories closed longer than previously forecast. Toyota, which had originally suspended production through March 21, said its 18 Japan assembly plants would remain closed, including those run by affiliates, through March 26.

Honda, has an assembly plant and Research& Design center in the disaster area and stated it would suspend operations through March 27. It had earlier said operations would be down through March 23.

The extended shutdowns will continue to stifle the output of some of those companies’ main exports to the United States, including the Toyota Corolla, Prius, and RAV4 as well as the Honda Fit and Honda CR-V. Affected vehicles also include the Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester and Infiniti, Acura and Lexus models.

Other companies showed fitful signs of coming back to life, following across-the-board shutdowns in the wake of the killer 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on 11 days ago.

Nissan Motor Co., has five plants closed by the quake, said it is aiming for a March 24 restart of all of them. This would include the Tochigi assembly plant in the quake zone.

Mitsubishi, Mazda and Suzuki have begun temporary production, as long as part supplies last.

Like Mazda, Suzuki was moving to complete vehicles already in-process with existing inventory of parts and component. Suzuki spokesman Hideki Taguchi says “That means it is not the ‘resumption of production’ in the real sense of the term.”

Fuji Heavy Industries, has suspended vehicle assembly of Subaru products until at least Thursday. It plans to resume parts production for overseas assembly operations on Wednesday and spare parts production on Thursday