Today, I heard at Toyota’s October-December results conference that TMC lost 240,000 unmade (and some made) cars to the Thai flood. After the conference, I asked Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett how many cars Toyota had lost to the tsunami.
I expected a bit less than a million. To my surprise, Corbett said: “150,000.”
I could not believe it. And I spent the rest of the day twisting arms until I knew how that happened. (Read More…)
With Honda and Toyota struggling to catch up after months of tsunami-related supply interruptions, Nissan’s been passing its major Japanese competitors in sales volume, and they apparently want to keep it that way. As Bertel has reported, Nissan was able to walk away from the tsunami’s devastation practically unharmed, and it’s leveraging its strong supply of vehicles to make hay while the sun shines (or while its competitors are struggling to catch up). This ad, which is a simple reminder to consumers, is only slightly tinged with competitive feist in a scene depicting a frustrated Honda customer. Overall though, there’s not much messaging needed: Nissan has cars, other Japanese competitors don’t. And right now, that could be one of the most effective marketing messages out there. After all, as Autoobserver points out, folks trading in Japanese cars still overwhelmingly buy another Japanese car… so simply having Japanese cars on dealer lots is a huge advantage at the moment.
The Detroit Free Press reports, almost giddily, that GM will almost certainly replace Toyota as the world’s largest automaker by volume this year, as tsunami-related production problems will continue to plague the Japanese automaker. The graph above, by IHS Global Insight [via AutoObserver], shows that the impacts of the tsunami will continue to be felt well into next year, and that Japanese production will likely fall permanently by around 15%. Toyota’s full-year production could be cut by around 20%, possibly bumping the automaker to the third position in the global volume race, after GM and VW.
Honda is thinking about delaying its earnings announcement while the company has all hands full dealing with the fall-out of earthquake, tsunami and radiating power plants. A Honda spokesman told Reuters: “We’re considering it, but nothing has been decided.” (Read More…)
Our daily run-down of delays, shut-downs, shortages, and postponements, triggered by the March 11 tsunami in Japan.
Toyota informed its U.S. dealers and workers to expect production slowdowns due to parts shortages. “Today, we communicated to team members, associates and dealers here that some production interruptions in North America are likely. It’s too early to predict location or duration,” Toyota said in a statement. Most, but not all of the parts for vehicles built in North America are sourced here. Wall Street Journal
Toyota expects to idle its pickup truck assembly plant south of San Antonio. “We are informing our team members that, with the situation over in Japan, it is likely that we will see some nonproduction days coming,” Craig Mullenbach, spokesman for Toyota’s San Antonio plant, said. Mullenbach added that parts needed to build the full-sized Tundra and mid-sized Tacoma pickup truck in San Antonio are running out. Reuters
Honda will suspend car production at its Japanese factories until at least April 3. Honda will temporarily transfer some functions such as car development and procurement out of its badly damaged R&D center in Tochigi. Reuters
This driver had the bad luck of being on a coastal road in Japan when the tsunami hit. He had the good luck to make it through alive. And he had the amazing luck to have a video camera going while it happened, capturing the tsunami crashing into road and car. (Read More…)