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Honda Tech Center Out of Action

Make also facing potential delay with new Civic.

by on Mar.25, 2011

Some analysts fear the launch of the 2012 Honda Civic could be impacted by the Japanese disaster.

A key part of Honda’s product development program could be out of action indefinitely in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that devasted Northeast Japan earlier this month.

With Japanese automakers still struggling to assess the damage done by the natural disaster – and subsequent nuclear crisis – Honda could be among the makers hardest hit.  Even plans for its new Civic model could be impacted by the events of recent weeks.

Honda has been under fire in recent months because its product line has begun to look dated next to new vehicles from other Asian, European and American carmakers – notably including the new Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra models targeting the long-dominant Civic.

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Howver, it now appears another casualty of the deadly quake — which has claimed the lives of as many as 26,000 — was Honda’s product development center.

The R&D facility, in Tochigi, suffered the only known fatality at any facility operated by a major automaker, one worker killed during the March 11 earthquake when a wall collapsed.  Employees who will work on the restoration started returning this week. But repairing the quake damage at the center will take considerably more time, Honda officials have confirmed.


Japanese Industry Facing Huge – Potentially Global — Problems in Wake of Quake, Tsunami

Key operations shut in Japan, impact abroad could be severe.

by on Mar.14, 2011

Tsunami-damaged cars that had been ready for shipment to markets overseas.

Much of the Japanese auto industry appears to be shut down, in the home market, in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, and industry managers say they’ll be making decisions on when to get back to work on a day-to-day basis.

At least one Honda worker was killed during last week’s temblor, with numerous other injuries reported.  At least 1,000 already-assembled vehicles are known to have been destroyed by the tsunami.  What is unclear is how much of an impact the situation will have on the global networks operated by manufacturers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

“There will be some effects,” warned analyst Jim Hall, of Detroit-based 2952 Analytics.

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Part of the problem in assessing the impact of Friday’s natural disaster is the extent of damage to the overall Japanese infrastructure.  Communications have been disrupted in some regions, making it difficult to get a full assessment of the situation at some industry facilities.  Further problematic is the ongoing crisis at a three-reactor Japanese nuclear plant that may be undergoing at least a partial meltdown.

At the least, that and additional damage to the island nation’s electric power grid has already forced the imposition of partial, rolling blackouts across the country to conserve power.


Quake, Tsunami Deal Blow to Japanese Automakers

Deaths, injuries, damaged plants; makers curb production.

by on Mar.11, 2011

A fireball erupts from an industrial area after the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck Japan.

The massive earthquake that rocked northern Japan has dealt a hammer blow to the Japanese auto industry, which is still piecing together the impact of what is now believed to have been the worst temblor in recorded Japanese history – and the tsunami it spawned — on the country’s industrial base.

With numerous injuries and at least one death, as well as substantial physical damage, automakers large and small say they will be forced to curb production at more than a dozen plants.

“Today’s earthquake halted production at Japanese automakers in their home markets,” noted a report from Standard & Poors.

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Honda reported at least one death at its technical center north of Tokyo.  Company officials have confirmed one Honda associate died at the company’s Tochigi research and development center when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria.

More than 30 other Honda associates were injured in the Tochigi area from collapsing ceilings and other damage, according to the company, which did not provide any information about damage to the sensitive installation itself.  But Honda has halted production in at least two plants.