By on March 15, 2011

“The ripple effect of the stoppages to supply and production in Japan will be felt in many parts of the world, including the United States, China, and Europe, as many key parts and technology are exported to global operations from Japan, writes IHS Global Insight in a research report. “Disruption to production of parts that are unique and cannot be easily shifted has the potential to hit output badly at several automakers in the near term.”

First to be hit will be Japanese production sites overseas which often import 20 percent or more of their parts from back home.

However, plants owned by U.S. or European companies are not immune.

Japanese plants in the U.S. have already trimmed overtime production to conserve parts, says Automotive News [sub]. “We just don’t know yet what impact we will see,” said Tom Easterday, executive vice president of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. “Right now, it’s production as usual. But it takes about a week for the parts flow to reach us from Japan. So it will be next week before we see any effect.”

“Detroit’s automakers also rely on Japanese suppliers for some critical parts,” says Automotive News. Ford is particularly concerned about the supply of hybrid batteries, made by Sanyo in Japan. GM and Chrysler are “monitoring the situation.”

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6 Comments on “Parts Shortages Threaten Production Outside Of Japan...”

  • avatar

    I was told 2012 is the one to watch …
    May be we’re wrong.

    Oh, is the sky’s falling, too?

  • avatar

    There are no two ways about it.  We will see ripple effects in some US plants.  That photo of the Sanyo battery pack for a Ford Escape is the tip of the iceberg.  Right now, the Northeast coast of Japan is at a standstill.

    At present there are rolling electrical black-outs throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area. Rail service is spotty to reduce the load on the electrical grid.  Tokyo metro is running at 50%. The various rail lines between cities are running on weekend schedules or not at all.  For example, yesterday there were only two trains to Narita.
    According to NHK store shelves in Tokyo are stripped bare of food and comfort items.  Gasoline shortages are the norm.
    All this is happening in a city that was physically relatively unscathed by the earthquake and tidal waves. Up the coast a post Katrina/Banda Aceh scenario is playing out.

    • 0 avatar

      Also, those rolling blackouts are only as mild as they are because all the major factories are shut down. It’s not just Fukushima: all of the other nuclear plants in the country shut down safely, but they’re still shut down, for now. Japan’s electrical grid is about 20 gigawatts short of its normal capacity; they will need to fix that before factories start moving again.

  • avatar

    My wife’s extended family is from Fukushima. 30 miles from the plant. They finally left. Normal ride by car to Tokyo 3 hours. It took them 10.  It is a HUGE mess up there.

  • avatar

    Bertel, you and your extended family will be in our thoughts and prayers.  There are things that we can prepare for and then there are things that defy all our preparations.  This earthquake and tsunami was but one example of how powerless we as a species on this planet are against the forces of nature.
    And as for the upcoming parts shortage, I sure hope that the transplants don’t shift their part production to the US, although that would be a logical sequence of events.  We all know already what happens when the US part suppliers enter the equation; recalls for faulty parts, gas pedals, rusting frames, etc etc etc.

  • avatar

    Mitsubishi Motors, as reported, is going to re-start, for two days. Is this a sign of hope or desperation?
    If the power is not going back to some kind of ‘normal’ in or before early April, what would happen? Will there be some ‘small’ guys hung dry?

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