The earthquakes and tsunami in Japan and its effects on car production

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Toyota today announced that in the face of disruption caused by Friday's Tsunami it has suspended production until it can be confident of being able to build cars again.

The problem facing Japanese industry is one of component supply, and, with 'just in time production', the shortage of only a few essential components will stop a vehicle production line.

The extent of this problem facing Japanese manufacturers and eventually the World is only gradually unfolding.

Japan not only makes 40% of the world's electronic equipment, it is the world's leading source of semiconductors without which most white goods, TVs, cars, cameras, in fact almost anything cannot be made.

The highly sophisticated manufacturing and distribution system that supplied the required parts to the required place on the production line is either damaged or in complete disarray, not only within Japan itself, but also out of Japan to the rest of the world.

Anyone who has ordered a Japanese car that was not already on the high seas heading for Britain can expect long delays.

Similarly, there will be shortaged of vital components for cars built by Japanese owned factories in Europe.

Patience will be required until the full extent of the disruption is known, then further patience while Japan rebuilds production facilities and infrastructure that were ruined by the earthquake and Tsunami

14-3-2011:

Mazda announced it was shutting its Hiroshima plant for two days and contributing to the earthquake/tsunami fund. No word on component supplies.

Honda said that damage was widespread in the Tochigi area, where the firm has a number of operations and confirmed the fatality of a Honda R&D associate at the Tochigi R&D Center, when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria. The associate was male, 43 years old.

In addition, 17 Honda associates were injured in the Tochigi area from collapsing ceilings and other damage during the earthquake (initial reports put the number of injured at 30).

In terms of production, Honda states the following:

  • As of March 14, all production activities are suspended at the following Honda plants: Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory (Sayama, Saitama), Ogawa Plant (Ogawa-machi, Hiki-gun Saitama), Tochigi Factory (Moka, Tochigi), Hamamatsu Factory (Hamamatsu, Shizuoka) and Suzuka Factory (Suzuka, Mie).
  • From March 15 through 20, Honda will suspend all production activities at its plants listed above as well as at Kumamoto Factory (Ozu-machi, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto).
  • From March 14 through 20, Honda will suspend regular operations at all Honda facilities in the Tochigi area, where damage was more serious, and focus on the recovery of each operation. Honda associates will not come to work during this time at those facilities, including Tochigi Factory, Honda R&D Co., Ltd., R&D Center and Honda Engineering Co., Ltd.

Nissan said that six facilities in Japan have reported some damage to their buildings or equipment, including Iwaki Plant (Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture), Tochigi Plant (Kawachi County, Tochigi Prefecture), Yokohama Plant (Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture), Oppama Plant (Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture), Zama Operations Center (Zama City, Kanagawa Prefecture) and Honmoku Wharf (Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture).

15-3-2011:

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has announced today that its three production hubs located in the areas of Aichi, Gifu and Okayama have so far been unaffected by the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan last Friday, 11th March 2011. Mitsubishi will also be contributing to the earthquake/tsunami fund. No word on component supplies.

Mitsubishi models such as Colt and Outlander are produced at Mitsubishi’s NedCar plant in Holland and the L200 is produced at Mitsubishi’s factory in Thailand. Vehicles such as Shogun, ASX, Lancer, Lancer Evolution X and the pure electric i-MiEV are all produced at the following plants in Japan:

Location Plant Vehicle
Aichi Nagoya Plant ASX
Gifu Pajero Manufacturing Company Limited Shogun
Okayama Mizushima Plant i-MiEV, Lancer, Lancer Evolution

Suzuki announced that there is currently no reported harm to Suzuki’s personnel, headquarters or manufacturing plants located in the Shizuoka Prefecture region. The earthquake’s epicenter was located 240 miles north of Tokyo while Suzuki’s headquarters are in Hamamatsu City, which is 158 miles south of Tokyo. The company is now gathering information about any additional effects to Suzuki’s operations, including port distribution, plant and dealership operations, as well as vendors and suppliers located in the damaged areas.

16-3-2011:

Latest from Nissan:

Although all plants, except for the Iwaki engine plant, have been able to repair some damaged facilities and/or equipment, it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers. As for the Iwaki engine plant, with aftershocks still heavily impacting the region, restoration activities are expected to take longer than at other plants. Our operations schedule will be as follows.

 

Oppama Plant, Tochigi Plant, Yokohama Plant, Nissan Shatai

  • Suspending operations until Sunday, March 20
  • (Note: Part of the Yokohama Plant resumed operations on March 13.)

Kyushu Plant, Nissan Shatai Kyushu

  • Resuming production on Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18, while inventory of supplies lasts. However, operations after Saturday March 19 are yet to be decided.
  • <Situation following the earthquake in Western Shizuoka, on Tuesday, March 15>

JATCO’s Fuji Plant and Fujinomiya Plant, which manufactures transmissions, has reported partial damage to its buildings and equipment. Operations have been suspended and damage is currently being assessed.

  • <Support for Earthquake Relief Efforts>

Including the 30,000,000 yen already committed to the NGO Japan Platform, announced on March 12, Nissan will donate more than 400,000,000 yen in cash and in-kind contributions to support earthquake relief efforts. This includes global and regional corporate donations, employee gift matching, as well as the provision of 50 vehicles to support aid agencies in the affected areas of Japan

  • <Expatriate employees>

Nissan confirmed the safety of all expat employees in Japan. Currently, all business travel to Japan has been suspended. Nissan is aware that a number of national governments have recommended their citizens consider leaving the greater Tokyo area or Japan entirely. Nissan has no current plan to repatriate its foreign employees, but we are working with each employee regarding their own personal choices and fully respect their decision to stay or leave.

17-3-2011:

Hyundai Motor Group will donate 100 million yen (approximately US$1.3 million*) to assist the recovery efforts in Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the nation last week.

The monetary donation will be made to the Korean Red Cross and delivered to the Japanese Red Cross to purchase immediate needs like blankets, food, and water.

Additionally, Hyundai Motor Group’s Chairman Mong-Koo Chung sent condolence letters to Japanese business partners on March 14th including JFE Steel Corporation, to express Hyundai’s deepest sympathy and wishes for an early recovery. Hyundai Motor Group will continue to provide additional support as needed.

Hyundai has been actively lending a helping hand to disaster-hit sites across the globe as part of its efforts to fulfill its role as a responsible global corporate citizen. To name a few, Hyundai provided support in the aftermath of Iran’s earthquake in 1999, the 2004 tsunami disaster in Asia, the 2007 Greek forest fires, the 2009 and 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, respectively, in the form of monetary donations, distribution of emergency supplies, or direct participation in relief activities.

Nissan announced the following:

 

Employees
Nearly all Nissan employees travelling in Japan on business have returned to their home countries. The few remaining Nissan Europe travelers in the country are scheduled to return no later than March 19.
We have confirmed the safety of all expat employees and their families in Japan and we continue to stay in close contact with these individuals. Currently, all business travel to Japan has been suspended. Nissan is aware that a number of national governments have recommended their citizens consider leaving the greater Tokyo area or Japan entirely. Nissan is working with each European employee regarding their own personal choices and will fully support their decision to stay or leave.

Earthquake Relief Efforts
In response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that severely damaged Japan, Nissan in Europewill donate USD 1 million in cash and in-kind contributions to support earthquake relief efforts.
Including the USD 1 million (¥80 million) committed by Nissan Europe, Nissan’s global contributions will reach more than USD 3.75 million (¥400,000,000 million) in cash and in-kind contributions. This includes global and regional corporate donations, employee gift matching, as well as the provision of 50 vehicles to support aid agencies in the affected areas of Japan.

Facilities/Production
All Nissan in Europe manufacturing facilities remain operational and will continue to operate on a planned production schedule until further notice.

Although all plants in Japan, except for the Iwaki engine plant, have been able to repair some damaged facilities and/or equipment, it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers.
As for the Iwaki engine plant, with aftershocks still heavily impacting the region, restoration activities are expected to take longer than at other plants.

Our operations schedule will be as follows: Oppama Plant, Tochigi Plant, Yokohama Plant and Nissan Shatai are suspending operations until Sunday, March 20 (Note: Part of the Yokohama Plant resumed operations on March 13.) Kyushu Plant and Nissan Shatai Kyushu are resuming production on Thursday, March 17, and Friday, March 18, while inventory of supplies lasts. However, operations after Saturday March 19 are yet to be decided. Nissan’s JATCO’s Fuji Plant and Fujinomiya Plant, which manufactures transmissions, have reported partial damage to its buildings and equipment. Operations have been suspended and damage is currently being assessed.

Vehicle Supply / European Production Impact

Nissan in Europe does not anticipate any short-term impact on sales or vehicle availability due to: A strong European manufacturing footprint, which supplies around 80 percent of vehicles sold in the region.

Having sufficient vehicle supply to maintain sales and customer deliveries for at least 6 weeks.
Having adequate supplies already en-route to Europe to continue production.
Due to supply disruption in Japan, we anticipate some impact in the medium term but it is too soon to determine the extent of that impact.

Togishi

Nissan's Iwaki plant before the earthquake and Tsunami

18-3-2011:

Renault has now set up a special fund and will donate €500,000. Its employees will also be invited to donate and their contributions will be matched by the company. All the money raised will be handed over to the Red Cross, a charity with whom Renault is a partner.

The money raised will go towards answering Japan's most urgent needs: providing food, drugs and other vital supplies, paying for medical treatment and organising blood donor campaigns.

Honda: News Asia reported that Honda had closed its automobile and motorcycle manufacturing plants until 23rd March because of a shortage of supply of 'Just in Time' parts.

Other manufacturers keep between 20 - 45 days inventory of parts. But power outages, temporarily stopping production lines, are a greater problem.

21-3-2011:

As anticipated a week ago, the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami is now beginning to affect component supplies to the worldwide car industry. On 18th March, the GM plant in Zaragosa, Spain had to curtail production of the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa due the lack of an essentual electronic component from Japan. 2,400 cars were not made as a result.

Meanwhile in Busan, South Korea, the Renault owned Samsung SM7 plant has cut output by between 15% and 20%, corresponding to 3,000 fewer vehicles a month.

These are only examples, as many carmakers are remaining tight lipped about how the catastrophe has affected them.

Nissan: The following is an update to previous reports regarding the imact of the recent earthquake on Nissan and the facilities of our affiliated companies.

As the delivery of parts will still take some time to be reestablished, our plants, except for the Iwaki engine plant, will be partially operational. As for the Iwaki engine plant, with aftershocks still heavily impacting the region and infrastructure reestablishment still continuing, restoration is expected to take longer than the other plants. Our operations schedule will be as follows:

  • Oppama Plant, Tochigi Plant, Kyushu Plant, Yokohama Plant, Nissan Shatai

Resuming operations from Monday, March 21, limited to the following:

-     Production of parts for overseas manufacturing and repair parts. (Based on parts availability from suppliers.)

-     Vehicle production is planned to resume from March 24, while inventory of supplies lasts.

  • IwakiPlant

Continuing restoration activities. Meanwhile, employees who are on standby status are recommended to assist with local volunteer activities. Based on requests from some suppliers, Nissan has started to support restoration activities, and is prepared to provide any further support as requested.

Honda: Honda is extending its production suspension in Japan to March 23 from March 20. Honda has also written to Amercian dealers to say that allocations for vehicles to be built after May are under review.

 

22-3-2011:

Today's news from Far East Newspapers:

Toyota: Toyota Motor Corp has continued to idle its 21 plants on 21st and 22nd March. Toyota Boshoku Corp, an auto parts maker that supplies Toyota was ready to restart its plants anytime as soon as Toyota deceided to resume production. These plants were largely undamaged. There were initial hopes that Toyota and Honda would restart production on Tuesday, though this has now been delayed, possibly until the end of the week.

Nissan: Nissan's main problem is with the Iwaki plant (photographed) in the Fukushima prefecture which, due to the efforts to prevent meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, is not getting enough water, gas and electricity to operate. This plant makes engines for Infiniti sedans and Elgrand luxury mini vans. 12% of all of Nissan's engines. Nissan is considering importing to Japan engines made at its Tennessee factory. Shares in Nissan Motors rose by 1% after the company said it had started production at six of its factories on Monday.

Sony: Sony's factory at Tagajo City, Miyagi, suffered the most damage of all Sony plants, is not receiving any power and is still partially covered in rubble and mud. This plant made Blue Ray discs and semiconductor lasers. Sony re-opened two other plants including plant making high-power lithium ion barreries in Tochigi prefecture today. Like other Japanese businesses, Sony generally is experiencing blackouts, transportation slowdowns, shortages of materials, and suppliers unable to make shipments.

 

23-3-2011:

Toyota:  Toyota has extended its shut-down of 11 factories until the weekend: 26/27 March due to difficultioes of obtaining components, including rubber parts and electronics. Toyota has resumed production of repair parts. So far, Toyota has lost production of 140,000 vehicles in Japan since the disaster struck.

Honda: Honda has said its shutdown of car and motorcycle plants at Saitama and Suzuka will continue through Sunday 27th March.

Sony: Intermittent production has resumed at a Blu-ray factory in Chiba dependent on power supply. Operations at five plants in Shizouka, Aichi, Gigu and Oita are suspended until the end of March. These make broadcast equipment, camcorders, digital camera, lenses for SLR cameras, cell phones, LCD TVs, microphones and headphones.

 

24-3-2011: 

Toyota: Toyota Motor Thailand has suspended overtime at its three Thal factories at Samut Prakan and Chachoengsao amidst uncertainty of supply of some components from Japan. TMT will decide on Monday whether to continue suspending overtime. Supply chain disruptions in Japan have forced Toyota to delay the launches of its new Prius station wagon and MPV.

Honda: Honda Automobile Thailand that launched production versions of its new Brio subcompact at the Bangkok Motor Show today sais it was also threatened by the possible distuption of parts supplies. Honda plants in Japan continue to remain closed until at least Sunday 26th March.

Mazda: Mazda Thailand confirmed that it, too, was facing supply chortages, mainly of electrical and electronic components, that were delaying deliveries of its new Mazda 3 2.0 automatic and the new BT50 pick-up.

Nissan: Nissan Motor Thailand said production at its plant on Bang Na-Trat Km 22 would continue normally because its stocks of partd from Japan would last one or two months. Nissan sources 95% of components locally and only 5% from Japan, but without that 5% it cannot continue buiding vehicles.

Mitsubishi: Mitsubishi Thailand that launches its new Global Small Car at the Bangkok Show said that production at its Thai factories at Laem Chababg, Chon Buri, remained operational as usual because most of Mitsubishi's Japanese facilities are not located in the earthquake/Tsunami zones. Most parts anyway are produced locally.

 

28-3-2011: 

Toyota: Today sees the resumption of production at Toyota's Kyushu plant which builds the Prius, CT 200h and HS 250h (not sold in the UK).

It's little over a week after TMC in Japan restarted production of replacement parts, and three days after reopening some of its plants which produce parts for overseas production, in the aftermath of a massive earthquake/tsunami that struck the country on March 11.

TMC will continue to assess parts supply as it considers the restart of other vehicle plants in Japan.  

Suzuki: Suzuki Motor Corporation has been suspended operations at the car assembly plants.

All car assembly plants are suspended, except for the Iwata plant which will partly operate, as some necessary parts supplied from the factories at the disaster area are still difficult to source.

However, the other plants such as engine assembling and motorcycle assembling plants will operate on 28 and 29 March (day-shift only) while we use available parts. Operations after 30 will be decided after the situation has been assessed.

  28 March 29 March
Kosai Plant Passenger car assembling Suspend Suspend
Iwata Plant Multi-purpose vehicle and commercial vehicle assembling Partly operate Partly operate
Sagara Plant Passenger car assembling Suspend Suspend
Automobile engines assembling Operate Operate
Toyokawa Plant Motorcycles assembling Operate Operate
Outboard motor assembling Operate Suspend
Takatsuka Plant Motorcycle engines assembling and machining Operate Operate
Osuka Plant Foundry Operate Operate

In other news: The Wall Street Journal reports that Mazda has stopped taking orders for Japanese-built cars in the US and the first signs of panic buying are starting to emerge. It also predicts that affected models will start to sell at a premium from next month.

 

28-3-2011:  

Suzuki: Suzuki Motor Corporation has suspended operations at most of the automobile assembly plants. They will partly operate (day-shift only) at Iwata Plant on 30 and 31 March and at Kosai Plant on 31 with available parts. The other plants operations are as follows. Operations after 1 April will be decided after the situation has been assessed.

  30 March 31 March
Kosai Plant Passenger car assembling Suspend Operate
Iwata Plant Multi-purpose vehicle and commercial vehicle assembling Operate Operate
Sagara Plant Passenger car assembling Suspend Suspend
Automobile engines assembling Operate Operate
Toyokawa Plant Motorcycles assembling Operate Operate
Outboard motor assembling Suspend Suspend
Takatsuka Plant Motorcycle engines assembling and machining Operate Operate
Osuka Plant Foundry Operate Operate

 Toyota: Toyota announced the following in North America:

"As previously announced, the production of Japan-sourced replacement parts needed to service Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles resumed on March 17 and shipments to the United States resumed after a brief four-day delay. Because Toyota maintains safety stock throughout its supply chain, order processing fill rates for customers have remained normal.

 
It has been confirmed that damage sustained by certain Japanese parts suppliers will interrupt their normal production. Inventories of parts from these suppliers are currently adequate. However, in order to maximize future availability, approximately 233 part numbers, out of over 300,000 active part numbers (less than 1%), have been placed on controlled allocation. Controlled allocation means orders must be made manually via a special order release form and must be for a specific customer vehicle. By taking this step, we can help conserve parts until the flow from Japan returns to normal. 
 
Toyota is requesting that dealerships refrain from placing any orders in excess of what is critically needed to support customer emergency need and true customer demand. Toyota's North American Parts Operations and our Toyota and Lexus dealers are committed to minimizing inconvenience for our customers as our Japan-based parts suppliers recover."

30-3-2011:

Nissan: As a result of corporate-wide restoration activities, Nissan is now capable of resuming normal operations at all of our Japanese plants except for the Iwaki Engine Plant. We are aiming to resume normal operations at these facilities from mid-April.

Currently, we have been in production using remaining inventory of supplies. Yet going forward, we will start receiving parts from our suppliers and resume normal operations. However, as the delivery of parts will still take time to be fully reestablished, operation levels will still be limited, depending on the delivery status from suppliers. Nissan will continue to provide necessary support to our suppliers to ensure their swift restoration to normal levels.

Operations schedule after Monday, April 4

  • Oppama Plant, Tochigi Plant, Kyushu Plant, Nissan Shatai, Nissan Shatai KyushuVehicle production will be suspended between Monday, April 4 and Friday, April 8.
  • Yokohama Plant and the casting and axle production departments at the Tochigi Plant
    Production will continue during the week of April 4, manufacturing the necessary powertrain units for the aforementioned vehicle plants that are now planned to resume production in mid-April.
  • Iwaki Plant
    Partial operation is planned to resume in mid-April. Complete reparation of facilities is targeted for the end of April.
  • Production of parts for overseas manufacturing and repair parts will continue after April 4.

Impact to production volume

The impact to our production since the earthquake until the end of March is estimated at 55,000 units against original production targets.

5-4-2011: Announcement from Honda

Honda recently announced that production of component parts in Japanese plants would recommence on April 4th, and in their latest update they have announced that 50% production has resumed.

While most of the cars parts required for vehicles made by Honda in the UK are sourced in Europe, some are still supplied from Japan.

The interrupted supply of Japanese components means that Honda has decided to reduce production at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) as of April 11th.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing employs approximately 3,000 people and is based in Swindon. It produces around 640 cars every day.

Production will continue at 50% of the planned weekly level and pay will be maintained for all Associates. Once full production is resumed any deficit will be recovered using banked hours.

As supply and production in Japan stabilises and returns to full capacity Honda will develop a schedule to meet European customer needs.

Ken Keir, Executive Vice President, Honda Motor Europe stated, “We’ve taken the decision to reduce our production volumes at HUM as it enables us to continue with our manufacturing activities, thus minimising the impact on Honda customers, dealers and Associates. We appreciate everyone’s understanding, customers and dealers, during these challenging times.”

7-4-2011: Nissan UK announce non-production days

An interruption in the supply of components from Japan means that Nissan today announced it plans to introduce three non-production days at its Sunderland plant this month, from the 26th-28th April inclusive.

In order to reduce the effect on staff, Nissan are bringing forward non-production days already planned for later in the year.

Plant management are working closely with Nissan Global supply to continually assess the need for further action and to align production with the availability of parts.

Demand for Sunderland built models is still high and, when the normal supply of components resumes, the plant will work to recover any lost volume as quickly as possible. 

13-4-2011: Toyota announces a production suspension at five European factories

Toyota is the latest manufacturer to announce the suspension of production due to a lack of components.

Five of its European plants - including two in the UK - will be stopped for several days in late April/early May and timed to coincide with public holidays.

The plants affected are, for the production of vehicles, Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) in Burnaston, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT) in Adapazari, and Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) in Onnaing.  The decision also applies to engine manufacturing facilities Toyota Motor Industries Poland (TMIP) in Jelcz-Laskowice and TMUK Engine Plant in Deeside, Wales. 

The non-production days for these plants will be 21 and 22 April, from 25 to 29 April, and 2 May.  However some plants had previously planned public or company holidays:  TMUK on 22, 25 and 29 April and 2 May; TMMF on 25 April, and TMIP on 25 April and 2 and 3 May.

 “Even though most of our parts come from European suppliers, we are experiencing gaps in our supply chain due to the situation in Japan,” said Didier Leroy, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe (TME).  “By adjusting our production in Europe, we are adapting to the current situation whilst not completely interrupting our deliveries of vehicles to our customers.”

 Toyota also said that it will continue to monitor the supply situation and has not ruled out further stoppages in May. Toyota's Japanese factories will restart from 18 April until 27 April at 50% of normal pace.

 Production facility  Vehicles/Parts  Number of production employees
 TMUK (Burnaston) Avensis, Auris, Auris HSD  ~ 2,500
 TMUK (Deeside) Engines  ~ 400
 TMMF Yaris  ~ 3,100
 TMMT Verso, Auris  ~ 2,200
 TMIP Engines  ~ 700

19-04-2011: Mitsubishi resumes production in Japan

Mitsubishi has announced that it has resumed continuous production at Japanese plants as of April 18th. Up until the 18th Mitsubishi plants were operating, but at an irregular rate, with regular stops and starts. Production from the 18th is to be at a reduced rate of around 90% of normal levels.

Mitsubishi expect overall production for April to be around 60% of original planned volume.

Despite some problems with parts procurement, the production schedule at international Mitsubishi plants has been largely unaffected.

Another update on production is to be released in May. 

20-04-2011: Toyota cuts UK production

Toyota ammounced that it had cut production at its UK Burnaston factory to one and a half days a week owing to shortages of components supplied from Japan. Burnaston builds Toyota Auris and Avensis cars.

17-05-2011: Toyota resumes UK production

Jon Williams, managing director of Toyota GB, welcomed the announcement of a return to 100 per cent production at European plants in June, including Toyota Manufacturing UK in Derbyshire and Deeside. He applauded the efforts of those involved in the quick turn around in the situation and emphasised that UK dealers are back to business as usual.

The faster-than-expected return to normal production in Japan, following the earthquake and tsunami in March, has enabled production in Europe to return to pre-earthquake levels after just one month at reduced pace.

“This is great news for our customers and for our dealer partners,” said Williams. “I want to thank our colleagues in manufacturing, both here in Europe and in Japan, for finding solutions in such a short period of time. It is a testament to the extraordinary abilities of the Toyota organisation.”

“I know the UK dealers will be delighted to be able to offer customers normal delivery lead-times sooner than previously expected,” added Williams.

The plants returning to 100 per cent production volume on June 1 are Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK, producing Avensis, Auris and Auris HSD in Burnaston, Derbyshire and engines in Deeside, Flintshire), Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey (TMMT, producing Auris and Verso), and Toyota Motor Industries Poland (TMIP, producing engines). Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF, producing Yaris) had previously announced a return to normal from May 16.

 

Meanwhile, an unconfirmed rumour is circulating that a batch of Japanese cars excporteed to Russia have been returned by the Russians to Japan because unacceptably high levels of radiation were detected in the cars themselves.

20-5-2011: Japan disaster hurts car output in Thailand

The  earthquake tsunami in Japan had affected the automobile industry in Thailand, Suparat Sirisuwannangkul, chairman of the Automotive Industry Club at the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said on Friday, as reported in The Bangkok Post.

Mr Suparat said the car output target for 2011 could drop by 10% from 1.8 million units to 1.67 million, nearly the same level of last year’s total output.

This means that the car output for this year would drop by 180,000 units, or about 80 billion baht in revenue lost, he added.

The natural disaster in Japan forced car-makers in Thailand to cut their production capacity by more than 50%.

Mr Suparat expected the car-makers to be able to resume their full production capacities in July as usual. Whether they can do so depends on the sufficiency of auto-parts produced in Japan.

Car output in April totaled 89,179 units, down 48.15% from March and 15.16% from the same month last year. The output in the first four months of the year to April stood at 558,160 units, up 14.39% from the same period last year, according to him.

He said even though the domestic car sales for April would drop by 27.66% from March to 67,283 units, it was 17.8% higher than that of last April, boosted by the improving economy and the expansion in new model and fuel saving sedans.

Car exports in April went down from the same month last year by 8.66% to 52,151 units and by 39.05% from March, due to fewer working days in the month, caused mainly by the long Songkran holiday. The month’s car export value totaled 23.19 billion baht, down 12.28% from last April, he added.

27-5-2011: Honda UK to resume full scale manufacture from September

Honda UK Manufactiring (HUM) announced it intends to resume its normal daily production plan during September.  This follows the period of parts supply interruption and reduced production levels following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  Associates and suppliers have all made tremendous efforts during this period to make this recovery possible.

With parts supply from Japan improving significantly, HUM will now plan production for the remainder of the year to recover volume and quickly respond to customers’ requirements.

This announcement coincides with the release of JD Power’s annual customer satisfaction survey, which has awarded the Swindon-built Jazz first place in the supermini sector for the eighth year running. Such an accolade, voted by customers, recognises the high standard of work undertaken by our associates at HUM.

Due to the flexible working hours arrangements which exist at the Swindon Plant, associates’ pay has been maintained and non-production hours have been banked. “I am proud of all of our Associates as they have shown great flexibility and commitment during this difficult time,” said Andy Piatek, Director of Manufacturing at Honda in Swindon.

“We are extremely pleased that our European manufacturing operations can now plan for production to return to normal,” said Ken Keir, Executive Vice President of Honda Motor Europe. “We would like to thank our customers and dealers for showing great understanding during this challenging period. As production levels recover, we are fully focussed on satisfying customer demand”.

 

 

 

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