Japanese carmakers, which barely have recovered from the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, find themselves in another catastrophe. Floods in Thailand cost Japanese automakers approximately 6,000 cars a day, Toshiyuki Shiga, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, said today in Tokyo.
All nine Japanese carmakers have shut down their Thai plants. Shiga said that eight out of nine closed due to component shortages. Parts makers again are the critical link in the supply chain. Already, the effects of the floods are being felt in other countries. Yesterday, Japanese partsmaker Aisin Seiki closed its engine parts plant in Thailand. According to The Nikkei [sub], “this could result in a parts shortage that brings engine production to a standstill, impacting Toyota’s output of pickup trucks and other vehicles in Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries nearby.” Nissan also builds the March/Micra subcompact in Indonesia from parts shipped from Thailand.
According to Reuters, manufacturers are hoping for a resumption in December … if the floods recede. That could mean another 360,000 cars missing, and this while the Japanese car industry is pulling out all stops to make up for lost production due to the tsunami.