Mother Nature appears to have issues with the auto industry. First, a once in a millennium tsunami crippled Japanese automakers and suppliers for most of the year. Now, the most powerful long-track tornado in US history hit automakers in Alabama.
- Mercedes closed its plant after a mile-wide tornado destroyed parts of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and caused minor damage to the Mercedez-Benz plant north of the city. The plant was shut down to aid employees “who needed to support their families, friends and communities that were severely impacted,” as Mercedes-Benz spokeswoman Felyicia Jerald told Automotive News [sub]. Mercedes will resume work on Monday.
- Toyota‘s engine plant in Huntsville, Ala., is still without power after the twister toppled power lines Wednesday night. Toyota spokeswoman Tania Saldana Blersch told Automotive News that it is unclear when the plant will be reopened. Production at Toyota’s North American factories has already been suspended for Mondays and Fridays through June 3 as a result of parts shortages due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Plants are operating at half production on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- Other manufacturers, such as Hyundai and Honda were not damaged but are evaluating the impact on suppliers.