Japanese Earthquake Halts Production Of Some Small Cars, Popular Hybrids For U.S. Market

March 16, 2011
2011 Toyota Prius

2011 Toyota Prius

While the world watches unfolding events surrounding rescue and recovery operations in Japan following the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami March 11, we here at Family Car Guide encourage everyone to donate to the Japanese disaster relief efforts by the American Red Cross via the link at the top of the page. But looking at the automotive picture, just a microcosm of everything that’s going on in Japan right now, what’s the outlook for automotive production from the Japanese automakers – specifically products produced for the U.S. market?

Briefly, production of some small, fuel-efficient cars and popular hybrids bound for the U.S. are affected. This includes the Toyota Yaris sedan, Scion xB and Scion xD, and Honda Fit. American Honda says that the production cessation also affects Acura TSX and Acura RL produced in Japan for the North American market, as well as a small percentage of Honda CR-Vs produced in Japan for the U.S. As for hybrids, Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, CR-Z, Civic Hybrid, and Nissan Leaf are affected.

American Honda says that more than 80 percent of all Honda and Acura products sold in the U.S. are produced in North America. In addition, the vast majority of parts for Honda automobiles manufactured in North America are sourced in the region.

Nissan Americas reports that nearly 70 percent of the vehicles it sells in the region are produced in the region and manufacturing operations are continuing on a normal schedule. The automaker says that some Infiniti models and Nissan GTR and 370Z may experience shipment delays to the U.S. and Canada, although the situation is still being assessed. A shipment of 600 Nissan Leafs bound for the U.S. left the Japanese port on March 10, prior to the earthquake/tsunami, and will arrive as scheduled. Nissan Americas says the future impact on Nissan Leaf, if any, is still being assessed.

Toyota has suspended production at all 29 manufacturing facilities in Japan at the parent company plants and seven affiliates until March 22. Nearly all Toyota, Lexus and Scion models are affected by the shutdown. Toyota builds the Camry Hybrid at a plant in Kentucky, so production of that model is not affected. The automaker says production of replacement parts for vehicles already in the market will resume March 17 (in order to take care of current Toyota owners whose vehicles need repairs). Toyota will restart production of parts for overseas production on March 21.


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[Honda, Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota, HybridCars]

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