When the March 11 tsunami hit, observers thought that of Japan’s major automakers, Honda would be the least exposed. Most of its global production already is outside of Japan. Very few cars that are produced in Japan are exported. Toyota and Nissan looked much more vulnerable. Distrust predictions: Today, Honda presented the results for the last quarter of 2011. The numbers look uglier than the cars in the video.
In the October-December quarter, Honda’s operating profit dropped 65 percent to 44.3 billion yen ($580 million). Analysts polled by Reuters had expected twice as much. For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, Honda expects an operating profit of 200 billion yen ($2.6 billion), down 65 percent from the year before. In August 2011, Honda had forecasted 270 billion yen. That was before the Thai floods hit.
Top Three Japanese Automakers, Calendar 2011
(Thousand units. Source: company reports)
Comparing the full year 2011 production numbers (first column: unit production 2011 in thousands, second column: change to 20-10,) Honda emerges as the worst hit of Japan’s bigger makers. It lost 20 percent of total production. Toyota lost only 8.2 percent, Nissan added 14.3 percent. Despite having most of its production outside of the country, Honda soon emerged as the most unlucky tsunami victim. Parts shortages affected production the world over.
Then in fall last year, Thailand was inundated by a record flood. While other Japanese makers suffered outages due to parts shortages, Honda’s Thai plant was submerged for months and is a near total write-off.
There were more disasters. The high yen had and has all Japanese makers on edge, so did the tanking Japanese market. Only Honda has a remodeled Civic which “got panned in the United States when it was remodeled last year,” as Reuters put it.
Toyota will report on February 7, Nissan on February 8. We will see what their numbers bring. Have a look at the table above and guess.