According to recent reports, auto manufacturers are gradually recovering from the impact of the earthquake and tsunami which hit a key area for vehicle and parts production in Northern Japan in March 2011.
One of the hardest hit is Toyota, with Japanese production unlikely to return to normal before November this year, manufacturing at its Chinese plants down 50% and possibly more until June and unlikely to improve until August and reduced volume at other plants in the US and Europe with parts remaining in short supply.
Least badly affected appears to be Mitsubishi, which had its manufacturing plants back in full production by the end of April. However the company, along with Honda, Nissan and Mazda all reported a fall in domestic output of more than 50% in April – estimated at 516,000 units lost by the ‘big seven’ manufacturers - with only a gradual return predicted in May and June.
Despite the disaster, Nissan managed to defy market expectations and post a Q1 profit of ¥319bn ($3.7bn) from just ¥42bn in the previous year, lifted by strong overall sales delivering a 17% increase in revenue. Nissan CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said that while production plant output had been stabilised, parts supply remained an issue.
The parts shortage in Japan also caused problems for auto manufacturers elsewhere, particularly in body paint supplies, with Ford, GM and Chrysler amongst those affected.
Published 11th May, 2011
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