Japan is slowly taking steps to resume auto and parts production after the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, with auto companies starting limited production throughout the week. Due to aftershocks, rolling blackouts and infrastructure problems, Japanese auto factories have remained idle costing Japanese automakers an estimated $150 million a day, according to Goldman Sachs.
The IHS Automotive Insight states that “lost production outside of Japan is so far about 10,000 vehicles, but that number will rise ‘exponentially’ as more parts suppliers are affected, reducing stockpiles of components for cars and trucks built overseas”. The U.S. is starting to feel the effect, as General Motors Co. will shut down production at its 900 employee pickup plant in Shreveport, La. next week, which relies on Japanese made transmissions.
However, Nissan Motor Co. has resumed production at some parts factories and is said to start production at six other plants and some vehicle assembly plants on Thursday but not at full production. Nissan’s Iwaki engine plant will remain closed and there is no definite idea for how long Nissan can sustain production and the plants that have recently reopened.
Honda Motor Co. closed six factories but says that they will reopen on Wednesday but its unclear when production will return to full capacity. Honda has suspended U.S. orders for Japan-built models. Toyota will keep 21 auto and components plants closed until Tuesday which build the Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury cars. According to Goldman Sachs, the shutdown is costing Toyota an estimated $73 million a day. Toyota will resume temporary production of key parts Tuesday at a couple plants. Mazda Motor Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. stated they will reopen plants on Tuesday as well.