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Toyota’s U.S. Plants Down for a Week

Production of new Honda Civic won’t recover until “sometime” in autumn.

by on May.27, 2011

The 2012 Honda Civic will remain in short supply until at least the coming autumn.

Toyota’s entire U.S. production network will be sitting idle next week, the maker deciding to stretch out the normal Memorial Day holiday break because of ongoing shortages of Japanese-made parts.

Honda, meanwhile, says that while its global factory network appears to be recovering faster than it first anticipated it will be facing more problems getting production up to speed for the new 2012 Civic model, which is likely not to reach normal volumes until “sometime” in autumn.

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A new report underscores the magnitude of the crisis touched off by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami.  In Japan, Toyota production was off by 74.5% for all of April, while its global production declined 48%.

The disaster had only marginal impact on automotive assembly plants but 100s of supplier facilities were damaged or destroyed.  Others have been struggling under the rolling blackouts implemented after the quake touched off a triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

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Nissan to Increase North American Production, Trim Use of Japanese Parts

Maker also announces more Leaf battery cars coming to U.S.

by on Apr.21, 2011

Nissan will sharply increase the use of locally-produced parts, reducing its reliance on Japanese suppliers.

Nissan will sharply expand the use of locally-produced parts at its North American assembly plants, said Carlos Tavares, president of Nissan Americas.

That move will come at the same time the second-largest Japanese maker shifts production of more of its vehicles, including the Rogue crossover from Japan to factories in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“We will significantly reduce the number of parts coming from Japan,” said Tavares, keynote speaker at the 2011 New York Auto Show.  The goal is to jump from the current level of 69% locally-sourced components to 85%, he added.

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Like rivals Honda and Toyota, Nissan was hard hit by the series of disasters that struck Japan on March 11, losing the better part of a month of production in the home market alone.  But Tavares said all of Nissan’s plants are now in operation, the maker having found ways to “bypass parts shortages” caused by the crisis.

In his speech and a subsequent question-and-answer session, the Portugese-born (more…)

Toyota’s Japanese Plants Set to Re-open

But maker will still operate at half capacity -- and only temporarily.

by on Apr.08, 2011

Not out of the woods, yet. Toyota will resume Japanese production only temporarily.

More than a month after Japan was wracked by a series of natural disasters – and the subsequent crisis at a nuclear plant – Toyota Motor Co. is preparing to reopen its home market plants.

The maker revealed today it will resume operations on April 18th through at least the 27th, but at only half the normal capacity of that expansive production network.  The 18 factories will then shut down again from April 28 through May 9, a traditionally holiday period in Japan.

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The industry giant reports it has lost about 260,000 units of production since its factories were shut down by the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami that struck northeast Japan.  It is unclear how many additional units Toyota will lose due to maintaining a reduced production schedule.

And it remains unclear what the maker’s plans will be following the Golden Week holiday.  Toyota officials say they are slowly resolving problems related to parts shortages caused by the March 11 disaster.  But they still are facing problems with at least 150 parts and components.

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Some Japanese Car Plants Ready to Reopen

But problems persist and could threaten GM.

by on Mar.16, 2011

Toyota pares back production of models like Camry at North American plants but resumes some Japanese operations tomorrow.

With the lights on the landmark Tokyo Tower darkened due to power shortages across the country, things are anything but back to normal in Japan, but one sign of progress comes from Toyota, which says it will reopen some of its parts plants on Thursday, though the maker will keep assembly lines shuttered until at least the 22nd.

The plants resuming operation tomorrow will supply much-needed parts to vehicles in use in Japan.  Meanwhile, Toyota said, it will resume production, next Monday, of parts needed by its overseas plants.

That’s good news for managers of assembly operations in North America, where the maker late yesterday announced it would trim overtime and Saturday hours because of the threat of possible parts shortages.  Like many so-called “transplants,” Toyota’s U.S. and Canadian assembly lines remain dependent upon many parts and components shipped in from Japan.

“It didn’t make any sense to build vehicles on overtime if we were not sure we would have enough parts,” explained spokesman Javier Moreno.  How long the slowdown will continue remains uncertain.  “We’re not sure how many parts they can send us,” said Moreno.

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Toyota isn’t the only maker worried about the impact on foreign operations.  Subaru has halted production at its Indiana plant.  And even Detroit makers are worried about parts shortages triggered by problems with Japanese suppliers.

Chris Perry, General Motors vice president of marketing, told reporters in Detroit it is possible GM’s production in the U.S. could be hurt. “It’s going to have an effect on all manufacturers,” said Perry adding the impact could extend to GM’s operations in China.

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