News from Japan’s automotive suppliers and manufacturers

 By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine

  A brief trip through some  official statements on the web sites of the Japanese auto industry. Information below is taken from the latest company statements and has been lightly thinned but not otherwise altered. At the time of this posting, many of the closed plants had resumed some degree of operation. More later.

Toyota, 16 March

   We continue to place priority on supporting the relief efforts in the regions affected and ensuring that our team members, the employees at subsidiary vehicle manufacturers and at our suppliers—and all their respective family members—are safe.

   Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has decided to continue the vehicle-production halt started on March 14 at all plants in Japan (including subsidiary vehicle manufacturers) through March 22. A decision on when vehicle production will resume in Japan has yet to be made.

    Separately, we will resume production of replacement parts for vehicles already on the market beginning March 17. We plan to restart production of parts for overseas production on March 21.

   Regarding Toyota’s North American operations, so far the impact is limited. All 13 North American vehicle and engine plants are running normally, although overtime has been curtailed for now to assure adequate inventories of parts that come from Japan. Since most parts and materials for Toyota’s North American-built vehicles are provided by suppliers in North America, this helps insulate Toyota’s North American plants from production interruptions in Japan.

   Prius vehicles are built in Japan, and thus impacted more by the production halt there. But for now inventory levels of the Prius at U.S. dealerships are generally still adequate.

   Regarding battery production in Japan, while future production plans are to be determined, only one of three hybrid battery plants in Japan sustained limited damage from the earthquake. The other two plants are located in central Japan and were not affected. The company is making every effort to minimize any long-term impact on Prius availability.

Sony (electronics supplier) 14 March
Operations at several Sony Corporation and Sony Group sites and facilities have been affected by the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami.  Sony also has responded to reports of widespread power outages by voluntarily suspending operations at several sites.
  Manufacturing operations have been suspended at eight affected production sites. In addition to these manufacturing sites, Sony Corporation Sendai Technology has ceased operation due to earthquake damage.

While certain production sites in Japan other than those listed above have been moderately affected, there has been no report of employee injury or facility damage, and operations continue.

Honda, 14 March
 Japan Operations

Damage was widespread in the Tochigi area, where Honda has a number of operations.
   •The suspension of automobile production, which began March 14, was extended today for an additional three days — through March 23 — at the Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory and the Suzuka Factory.

  • The same March 23 timing applies at the Kumamoto Factory where motorcycles are produced.
  • Honda is cooperating with electricity conservation efforts and rolling blackout measures, prioritizing the relief and recovery of affected areas. Our decision to resume production could be affected by the needs of Japanese society as a whole.
  • Honda has made contact with all Tier 1 suppliers in Japan and is collecting information from them regarding the status of their operations.

North American Operations
   On March 17, certain U.S. news reports inaccurately suggested that Japan-based production of vehicles intended for sale in the United States would be suspended until May. This is not what we communicated. Honda has announced a suspension of production only through March 23.

 Honda’s U.S. and Canadian and Mexico Honda plants are continuing normal output of finished vehicles. In addition, we are continuing to monitor the long-term impact of the events in Japan on Honda auto production in North America because some auto parts are supplied from Japan.

We currently have adequate inventory of products supplied from Japan.

Denso, 18 March

Considering the recovery efforts for the Kanto-Tohoku Earthquake and production halts at our customers, DensoCorporation will basically suspend production at its plants until March 18. However, based on the operations of some customers, a portion of productions will operate. Denso Corporation will start a portion of productions from March 21 based on the operations of customers 

Toshiba (electronics supplier, 14 March
Toshiba Corporation announced that it will cooperate with Tokyo Electric Power Company’s request to cut electricity consumption by operating only those of its businesses related to provision of essential services required for social and economic activities. This decision extends to Toshiba Group companies and covers production facilities and business premises in areas where TEPCO plans controlled power outages.
In line with this decision, Toshiba has closed for today all of its premises in those areas with power outages, other than its headquarters and those business operations related to essential services. Any other measures beyond those taken today will be notified in due course.

Nissan, 16 March


  • All Nissan Americas manufacturing facilities remain operational and will continue to operate on a planned production schedule until further notice.
  • Although all plants in Japan, except for the Iwaki engine plant, have been able to repair some damaged facilities and/or equipment, it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers.
  • As for the Iwaki engine plant, with aftershocks still heavily impacting the region, restoration activities are expected to take longer than at other plants.
  • Our operations schedule will be as follows:
    – Oppama Plant, Tochigi Plant, Yokohama Plant and Nissan Shatai are suspending operations until Sunday, March 20
    – Nissan’s JATCO’s Fuji Plant and Fujinomiya Plant, which manufactures transmissions, have reported partial damage to its buildings and equipment. Operations have been suspended and damage is currently being assessed.

Vehicle Stock / Sales Impact

  • Nearly 70 percent of the vehicles Nissan Americas sells in the region are produced in the region and manufacturing operations are continuing to operate on a normal schedule.
  • Due to an approximately 50 days’ supply of vehicle stock on the ground in the region or already in transit from Japanese ports, Nissan Americas does not anticipate any near-term impact on sales or vehicle availability.
  • Approximately 1,300 Infiniti vehicles were damaged in port in Japan due to the earthquake/tsunami, which equates to less than a few days’ supply for the brand.

Nissan lost nearly 1300 Infiniti vehicles in one lot during the tsunami.


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