In a matter of minutes, the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan’s northeast coast, last March, took tens of thousands of lives and created hundreds of billions of dollars in devastation. Few industries felt the impact more directly than the automotive world – parts shortages still plaguing many of the industry’s major manufacturers.
While the March 11 disaster had a wide-ranging impact, causing shortages of a variety of parts, including plastic and rubber goods, perhaps the biggest problem was a shortage of electronic components. Among the manufacturers hardest hit by the quake was Renesas Electronics, the world’s largest supplier of micro-controllers.
Renesas provides 40% of the chips used by the automotive industry, and without those silicon circuits carmakers like Toyota and Honda saw many of their assembly lines come to a screeching halt.
Bringing its operations – which center around multi-billion-dollar “clean room” facilities in the region hardest hit by the March disaster – hasn’t been easy, but in recent weeks Renesas has been ramping operations back up and plans to be back to full capacity next month, TheDetroitBureau.com learned during a discussion with senior executives from the chipmaker.