By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
Continuing our brief trip through some official statements and news reports on the web sites of the Japanese auto industry. The situation changes by the day as hidden damage is discovered or repairs are completed.
Mitsubishi, 17 March
(In prior statements, the company noted it had closed three plants for several days immediately after the earthquake and tsunami. Those plants reopened at least for partial production last week. The company also posted this, finding an interesting application for new technology.)
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) will provide the areas afflicted by the Tohoku Earthquake with electric vehicle i-MiEV as well as 4WD pickup truck Triton, to be used for disaster relief purposes.
Many of the afflicted areas are troubled with a serious gasoline shortage issue – therefore, electric vehicles have been called upon for its characteristic of being able to run without any specific facility if there is an electricity supply. Also, circumstance calls for vehicle with high road-performance, large cargo capacity and reliable accessibility on rough roads. With these factors in mind, i-MiEV and Triton were chosen to be sent as support effort.
As the first step, 30 i-MiEVs will be shipped out tomorrow, March 18th. Additional vehicles will be sequentially sent out according to the afflicted areas’ needs.
Subaru, March 21
Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, announced today that it has decided to extend the production suspension at all five Subaru automobile plants in Japan until Thursday, March 24, considering the influence of its suppliers in the affected areas as well as conditions of electric power supply. FHI previously announced its production suspension until March 22.
Separately, FHI plans to restart production of parts for overseas production on Wednesday, March 23 and production of spare parts on Thursday, March 24 respectively, as soon as those parts are ready for the restart of production.
GM,USA, March 21
The company announced a cessation of production at its Buffalo, N.Y. (Tonawonda) engine facility. A company representative noted that the engine plant has all the parts it needs, but the previous closure of the assembly plant in Louisiana—due to parts shortages—means the engines are not needed because the trucks are not being built. Production restart dates for both plants remain uncertain.
Suzuki, March 21
Suzuki Motor Corporation has suspended operations at all plants (including passenger car, MPV, motorcycle, and marine – ed). However, some assembly plants will operate on 22 and 23 March (day-shift only) in order to complete vehicles at the assembly line. The operation after 24th will be decided after we assess the situation.
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