Japanese Automakers Continue to Idle Plants Due To Parts Shortages

Several Japanese automakers may be ready to restart production following the nation's devastating earthquake and tsunami last week, but problems in the supply chain continue to prevent factories from cranking out cars. A number of automakers have subsequently announced extended plant closures as they continue to face a shortage of parts.

Of all the Japanese auto companies, Toyota is perhaps the most affected of the group. Parts shortages will keep the auto giant's 18 auto plants idle until March 26 at the very earliest.

Honda had planned to resume production at three factories on March 23, but announced today that shortages have forced that date to be rescheduled. As it currently stands, the company hopes to resume production by March 27, but will evaluate parts supplies and its supplier's ability to produce components before making any final decision.

Nissan is working to ramp up five of its plants, although vehicle production is still a ways off. The company's Oppama, Tochigi, Kyushu, Yokohama, and Shatai plants resumed parts production on March 21, but won't begin assembling vehicles until March 24, providing the automaker doesn't face a shortage of components.

Mitsubishi resumed production at three of its facilities today (few, if any, were truly affected by the quake), but that run may be short lived. Six of the company's suppliers were hit hard by the quake and remain closed. As a result, the company expects parts supplies to run out by Wednesday, which will likely force production to halt once again.

Mazda also resumed operation of finished vehicles and replacement parts until existing supplies run out. A date for resumption of full-scale production has yet to be determined. Parts shortages and the supply of electricity have backed up Subaru's operations, which are tentatively scheduled to resume on March 24th.  Production at Suzuki's facilities is running at half capacity for today and tomorrow, while the plan for Thursday has yet to be decided.

U.S. consumers can expect the parts shortages to lead to a diminished supply of the Japanese imports causing prices to creep north. Rebates and discounts typically seen on the likes of the imported Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris have begun to disappear.

Source: Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota

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