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Posts Tagged ‘japan auto industry’

Nissan Shakes Up Global Management Team

Increases emphasis on electric vehicle operations.

by on Mar.11, 2013

Nissan Chief Operating Office Toshiyuki Shiga with the maker's Townpod EV concept.

Nissan Motor Co. has become the latest of the major Japanese automakers to announce a global realignment of its management team.

More than a dozen ranking executives will be shuffled, see their duties increased – or retire.  The moves cover a wide range of operations at Nissan, from marketing to supply chain management to communications, but the maker appears to have put a significant emphasis on its electric vehicle operations.

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NMC’s Chief Operating Officer, Toshiyuki Shiga, will now directly overseas planning and strategy for the global battery business unit, an operation Nissan has already invested several billion dollars in, with a second assembly plant for its Leaf battery car recently going into operation in Smyrna, Tennessee.


Amidst the Devastation – A Special Edition of Marty’s Marketing Minutia

American ad man reports on life in a devastated Japan.

by on Mar.22, 2011

The worst damage occurred in Northeast Japan, but the impact has been felt across the country.

The television hit show Mad Men has cast a disparaging eye on the advertising industry and the talented people I’ve been proud to work in and with for almost five decades. But even as the media has kept us informed round the clock of the horror in Japan: the devastation of the 8.9 earthquake, the apocalyptic tsunami and the precarious and dangerous nuclear disaster in the making, it’s been impersonal reporting. Missing in the 24/7 coverage has been appropriate poignancy, personal comments and non-journalistic l observations.

I knew that a friend and really good guy and ad-man, Russell Wager (okay he’s a suit) had moved last summer from David and Goliath as managing partner and group client director on the Kia account (yea, Hamsters) to a really big job in Tokyo, Japan as the president of TBWA \ Hakuhodo part of the Omnicom Group.  A really big and important job with a really big and important agency serving really big and important clients.

After the quake I’d sent Russ an email wishing him and Dawn, his wife, (also an ad person), well following the earthquake and tsunami. He responded saying they were okay – I should read Dawn’s daily blog — but that he had to walk 26 kilometers from the client’s office in Yokohama to his home in Tokyo on the day of the event. As a former agency suit myself, I admired and respected his great strength, courage and steel cajones.

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This led to another email asking if we could chat about his experiences and the impact on personal and professional life in Japan which we did in an amazing forty-five minute Skype call.  As we talked his words and descriptions brought frightening, terrifying pictures and visuals from telecasts and newspapers to mind. What follows is my transcription of Russ’ thoughts and comments from the day of the quake till last Friday.


Prices Already on Rise for Japanese Cars, Trucks

GM shuts plant in Louisiana; loss of hybrid plant could impact Prius supplies.

by on Mar.18, 2011

Storm clouds on the horizon? With a battery supplier down, could Toyota be facing a Prius shortage - and rising prices for buyers?

If you’ve got your eye on a new Japanese car, truck or crossover, you may need to stretch your budget a bit more than you anticipated.  A number of online services that track automotive pricing report that Asian makers and their dealers are already beginning to curb incentives and even raise prices in the wake of the earthquake-fueled crisis that has all but shut down the Japanese auto industry.

While makers such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda say they have adequate supplies available for U.S. customers, the situation clearly depends on which product you’re looking for.  With fuel prices at two-year highs, demand was already on the rise, prior to the quake, for hybrids and other high-mileage vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit.

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And with most of the automotive assembly plants in Japan still closed, vehicle shortages are mounting.  Things are a bit better here, where only Subaru has halted operations at its Indiana-based “transplant” assembly line due to parts shortages.  But analysts worry that more transplants could soon feel the impact.


Toyota, Subaru Trim U.S. Production in Wake of Japanese Disaster

“We’re watching hour-by-hour, part-by-part.”

by on Mar.15, 2011

Subaru halts U.S. prouction of the Outback.

The impact of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami has now reached the U.S., two automakers announcing plans to cut back on production due to potential shortages of imported components.

Other Japanese makers are still assessing the situation, as are Detroit’s Big Three, all of which import parts and components from Japan.

“We’re watching hour-by-hour, part-by-part,” said a senior industry executive asking not to be identified by name.

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Subaru of America says it is suspending indefinitely production at its assembly plant in Lafayette, Indiana.  The factory produces the maker’s Outback, Tribeca and Legacy sedan models.  There are 3,500 U.S. workers at the factory, which last year produced 150,000 vehicles.

The shutdown could disrupt Subaru’s steady growth in the American market.  The maker last year posted an all-time sales record of 263,820 vehicles, a 16% increase.


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.