Damaged Japanese Automaker Facilities Affect U.S. Market

March 25, 2011

The natural disasters in Japan continue to have a growing and negative effect on the U.S. automotive industry. U.S. carmakers are being affected by the vast network of Japanese auto part suppliers that were disrupted or shut down entirely by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Supply chain damage is still being assessed by many U.S. manufacturers.

However, there are specific models of Japanese vehicles that are primarily built in Japan. The availability of these models in the U.S. market is of concern to both local dealers and car buyers. For example, Honda has suspended production at two major facilities affected by the disasters in Japan. Models primarily affected are the Fit and Insight. Neither plant is expected to reopen until April 3rd at the earliest.

Other Japanese automakers

Toyota has closed 18 assembly plants indefinitely. U.S. consumers are most worried about supplies of the Prius and Yaris.

Nissan is reporting sporadic production at its Japanese assembly plants. Of more concern to Nissan is a damaged supply chain that could seriously limit the production of the Rogue, Leaf, some Z-model sports cars. If there’s a silver lining, it’s the fact that a ship containing 600 all-electric Nissan Leaf vehicles left its Japanese port bound for the United States the day before the earthquake rocked the country. There is concern that production of the Leaf could be seriously limited in the short-term.

Mazda is reporting sporadic production that is directly affected by the availability of parts within its supply chain.

Subaru has suspended all auto manufacturing in Japan due to supply shortages and rolling blackouts.

Buyer Beware

There are reports that some U.S. car dealers are already raising prices on fuel-efficient vehicles, regardless of where they are made. This is a result of high gasoline prices and the Japanese disasters.

This is a time for car buyers to make sure they comparative shop for the lowest price available in their market area. You may want to read, Yes You Can: Save Big on Your Next Vehicle Purchase: Tools To Use.

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