Toyota, Honda Extend Plant Shutdowns

Japanese carmakers continue to assess the situation.

In the aftermath of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan earlier this month, Toyota has extended its nationwide production stoppage in Japan, while Honda has extended shutdowns at a number of its domestic plants.

Toyota Motor Corp. yesterday said it has decided to continue its vehicle-production shutdown at all plants in Japan through March 26. The shutdown, which includes Toyota's subsidiary vehicle manufacturers, began March 14. Toyota said it has not decided when to resume vehicle production in Japan. The automaker noted that its factories that produce replacement parts for vehicles already on the market resumed production on March 17, while its factories that make parts for overseas production restarted on March 21.

Toyota said the impact on its North American operations has been limited. "All 13 North American vehicle and engine plants are running normally, although overtime has been curtailed to conserve parts that come from suppliers in Japan," the automaker said in a news release. "Regarding dealerships in the U.S., inventories remain generally good."

Honda Honda yesterday said it has extended shutdowns at its facilities in Sayama, Saitama; and Suzuka, Mie; through March 27. Honda also has extended the shutdown at its motorcycle factory in Ozu-machi, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto, through March 27. "Concerning operations in Japan from March 28 on, Honda will make decisions based on the status of the recovery of Japanese society as a whole, as well as our supply of parts," the automaker said in a news release. "We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers, and request their understanding during these challenging times." Honda added that it has made contact with all of its Tier 1 suppliers in Japan and is gathering information on the status of their operations. One Honda employee was killed and 17 were injured during the earthquake in the Tochigi area, where Honda has a number of operations. The automaker noted that all of its North American employees who were on assignment in Japan at the time of the earthquake were unharmed. In North America, Honda has emphasized that "there is no immediate impact" on its operations. Honda's plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico are producing their normal output of finished vehicles, according to the automaker. "More than 80% of Honda and Acura products sold in the U.S. are produced in North America, and the vast majority of automotive parts for Honda automobiles manufactured in North America are sourced in the region," the automaker said in a news release. Honda added it is "continuing to monitor the long-term impact of the events in Japan on Honda auto production in North America, because some auto parts are supplied from Japan." Suzuki Suzuki has suspended most operations at its Kosai, Iwata and Sagara vehicle-assembly plants through March 25. The automaker noted that "some necessary parts supplied from the factories at the disaster area are still difficult to be procured stably." Suzuki's Toyokawa motorcycle-assembly plant, Takatsuka motorcycle-engine assembly and machining plant and Osuka foundry are operating on day shifts only for the rest of the week using stock components, according to the automaker. All Suzuki plants will be closed March 26 and 27. "Operation after 28 will be decided after we assess the situation," the automaker said. Subaru Fuji Heavy Industries earlier this week said it decided to extend the production shutdown at all Subaru vehicle plants in Japan until March 24, "considering the influence of its suppliers in the affected areas as well as conditions of electric-power supply." The company planned to restart production of parts for overseas production on March 23 and production of spare parts on March 24.

Mitsubishi

Mitsubishi suspended operations at all three of its manufacturing hubs in Japan on March 23. Production at two of its three hubs in Japan will be suspended on March 24, while its Mizushima plant in Okayama will be the only Mitsubishi facility in Japan shut down on March 25.

The company said its North American production and sales have not been affected by the tragedy in Japan.
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Follow IndustryWeek senior editor Josh Cable on Twitter at @JCable_IW .
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