As the full extent of the devastation caused by March 11’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami unfolds, Japan’s car industry is counting the cost of the worst natural disaster to strike the country. Here we chart the impact of the disaster on the nation’s car industry.
Japan’s largest carmaker, Toyota, has confirmed that it has suspended its Japanese vehicle production until at least March 22, while overtime and weekend shifts at its North American plants have also been cut as the firm cannot keep up with the supply of parts in Japan. It’s major seaport escaped damage, but smaller dockyards have suffered fro, the seven-metre-high tsunami, which hit Japan’s eastern coast.
Nissan is in the process of repairing its plants in Japan, but delivery of parts from smaller suppliers have slowed this process. The firm’s Iwaki engine plant is located to the south of Fukushima prefecture and is still being affected by aftershocks.
The firm has also confirmed that it will donate more that 400,000,000-yen (£3million) to the relief effort, along with providing 50 vehicles to support aid agencies.
Mitsubishi’s Shogun, ASX, Lancer, Lancer Evolution X and i-MiEV are all produced in three plants in Japan, in Aichi, Gifu and Okayama. The factories have escaped damage, so production has been able to restart today. Mitsubishi is currently establishing how badly its suppliers have been affected.
Meanwhile, Mazda, Suzuki and Isuzu’s plants are all closed until at least Sunday.
Honda has suspended all activity at its Sayama Plant, Ogawa Plant, Tochigi Factory, Hamamatsu Factory, Suzuka Factory and Kumamoto Factory until March 20. The firm has also shut its R&D centres. Honda has pledged 3,000,000,000-yen (£2.3million) to the relief operation, plus 1,000 generators.
BMW and Volkswagen employ around 750 and 600 sales staff respectively, and have begun the process of repatriating those which wish to leave.
Tyre maker Bridgestone is due to restart production in its eastern Japanese factories, with the priority on truck and bus tyres.
Motor sport has also been affected, with the Japanese MotoGP Grand Prix, originally due to be held at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit on April 24, postponed until October 2.