By on May 25, 2011

Come June, Toyota “plans to bring domestic auto production back to as much as 90 percent of targets set before the March earthquake hit, thanks to faster-than-expected improvements in parts supplies,” The Nikkei [sub] writes today. At the annual results conference in Tokyo, Akio Toyoda had said Toyota Toyoda would be on its way back to normal beginning in June, with hopefully 70 percent of production reinstated in summer. This was already a two month improvement over previous plans. Two weeks later, the outlook seems to be even better. If The Nikkei heard correctly. (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2011

The ripple effects of the March 11 tsunami keep bouncing around the globe. The is good news and bad news. (Or bad news and good news, depending on the side you are on.) (Read More…)

By on May 3, 2011


Japan’s carmakers are slowly returning back to normal, hobbled only by unsure supply of parts and sometimes power. It will be slow going and full of surprises. One thing is for sure: The March 11 tsunami will have an ugly effect on carmakers’ books. Combined losses for the Japan’s carmakers and suppliers could “the biggest ever,” surpassing those during 2008 to 2009 financial crisis, Noriyuki Matsushima, an analyst in Tokyo at Citigroup Inc., told Bloomberg. (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2011

“This is the worst situation we’ve faced since the war,” a source close to Toyota told the Yomiuri Shimbun. The Japanese car industry is facing post-war-like shortages when it comes to auto parts. Toyota is short 150 parts positions, which can be anything from a bolt to a complete dashboard.

Dealerships are empty – of cars. Test drive cars do double duty as display vehicles. “We get a lot of customers coming in, but we don’t have cars to sell them,” a salesperson told the Tokyo paper. (Read More…)

By on April 21, 2011

Nissan’s Iwaki engine plant is back on line, as this video from Nissan’s in-house channel attests. The plant, located some 35 miles away from the stricken Fukushima power plant, was severely damaged by the quake and had been off-line ever since March 11. (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2011


During an intimate round table in Shanghai, usually well informed reporters were harping on the influence of radiation on Toyota sales. I expected the heads of communication of Toyota worldwide and Toyota China to blurt out: “Radiation? What impacts sales is the fact that we don’t have any cars to sell.” But they kept their cool in the face of a hot topic.

After a month-long quake-induced hiatus, Toyota restarted production in all Japanese factories on Monday. In the meantime, the shockwaves of the tsunami ripple through the supply lines. (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2011

Honda sources the vast majority of parts and materials needed for North American production in North America. “However, for global efficiency, a few critical parts continue to be supplied from Japan,” says Honda in a statement. Honda restarted production of component parts for North American plants Monday, April 4 at several Honda plants in Japan. However, those need their own parts and supplies. Therefore, Honda’s component production in Japan continues to run at approximately 50 percent of the original production plan.

This of course impacts North American production. (Read More…)

By on April 15, 2011

The March 11 tsunami is having long term effects on Japanese car production. Toyota, the world’s and by far Japan’s largest car company, is severely impacted. Toyota just announced that vehicle production from May 10 to June 3 will proceed at approximately 50 percent of normal. (Read More…)

By on April 13, 2011

Production of Legacy, Outback and Tribeca Subarus in Lafayette, Ind. will pause on Friday, April 15, Monday, April 18 and Monday, April 25 while Subaru sorts out supplies from Japan, Subaru of Indiana spokeswoman spokeswoman Jennifer McGarvey told Automotive News [sub]. (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2011

Better get used to this: Barely had Toyota announced that it will reopen its Japanese plants, then Toyota U.S.A. chimes in and says: “We are shutting down.” Welcome to the supply chain gang. Toyota is running its N.A. vehicle plants on what they call “a reduced schedule.”

Meaning: (Read More…)

By on April 8, 2011

When we worked on the Phaeton launch in 2001, we said it had “more computers than a small company.” It had 56. Today’s cars have anywhere between 30 and 100 computers on board. They are small microcontrollers that typically chat with each other via a CAN bus. You don’t take just any microcontroller for the job. They need to hold up to the harsh environment inside of a car. Their makers need to hold up to the harsh environment presented by the purchasing departments of automakers that squeeze them for every penny. As a result of both, there are only a few players in this field. This is the story of one of them. (Read More…)

By on March 30, 2011

The first waves of the Japanese tsunami are reaching consumers at American shores. Oddly, some of the cars first affected may be the ones customers already have, not the ones they cannot buy. Toyota notified its dealers across the United States to prepare for a shortage of replacement parts, due to disruptions caused by the monster earthquake and tsunami in Japan, The Nikkei [sub] writes today.

Out of 300,000 “numbers”, as they call parts items in the vernacular, 233 are in short supply and have been “placed on controlled allocation,” as a Toyota U.S.A. statement says. Dealers are being asked to “refrain from placing any orders in excess of what is critically needed to support customer emergency need and true customer demand.” (Read More…)

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