Japan's Auto Production Hit By Parts Paralysis
After a long weekend (Monday was Spring Equinox), Japan came back to work today. Most of the Japanese auto industry did not.
Japan’s largest automaker Toyota, and Japan’s third largest, Honda, won’t be making any cars this week. Japan’s auto production is paralyzed.
“TMC has decided that the halt of vehicle production at TMC plants and subsidiary vehicle manufacturers will continue until (and include) March 26 (a scheduled Saturday production day). Meanwhile, TMC resumed production of replacement parts on March 17 and resumed the production of parts for overseas production (including knockdown parts) on March 21.”
Hard hit Honda sent out an even more ominous message:
“In light of the current status of supplies and parts from suppliers, Honda decided to extend the suspension of production at our Saitama, Suzuka and Kumamoto factories through March 27. With regard to the situation from March 28 on, we will determine the situation, dependent on the recovery of the society and the supply of parts.”
Japan’s second largest automaker, Nissan, had nothing to announce. They already had said that they would open some plants to make some much needed-parts (there are a lot of cars to be fixed in Japan). On Thursday, Nissan will start assembling vehicles at five factories and will make some cars until the parts run out.
These three cover the bulk of the Japanese car production.
“Other carmakers resumed temporary production — as long as part supplies last,” reports Automotive News.
Mitsubishi is making cars today from parts that had already been made before the disaster, but were stuck due to bad roads. Five or six suppliers of Mitsubishi are out of commission. “As a result, Mitsubishi is suspending production indefinitely from Wednesday,” Automotive News says.
Mazda is up, but probably not for long. There is production of replacement parts and parts for overseas factories. Whatever cars can be built with parts already in stock will be built. Then, the line stops.
Suzuki is trying to finish vehicles already in-process with existing parts and components. It looks like they might run out of those on Thursday.
Subaru has suspended vehicle assembly until at least Thursday.
The message is clear: The Japanese auto industry is cut off from its lifeline, its parts suppliers. Whatever parts can be made in-house are being made. Whatever cars can be produced with existing inventory, are being produced (with the exception of Toyota and Honda). That’s it.
Reuters already coined the term “Japan parts paralysis,” affecting everybody from miners in Brazil to buyers of iPads in Cleveland.
And don’t think it will all be over next week. As the Mainichi Shimbun writes today,
“Suspension of vehicle output is highly likely to last for a long time as the two major Japanese automakers currently have no prospects of resuming production.”
The smaller automakers share the same suppliers and the same bleak prospects.
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