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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 Car Production Up for First Time in 3 Years – But Not For Long

But Nissan, others shifting production to the U.S.

by on Feb.01, 2011

Nissan will shift Rogue production to the U.S.

Japanese car production rose 21.3% last year, the first increase in three years – though the trend is almost certainly downward, as makers like Nissan prepare to shift more manufacturing out of the home market.

Passenger car output jumped to 8.3 million in 2010, the first upturn since 2007, while truck production rose 22.8%, to 1.2 million, the first move upward in seven years, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

The increases reflected a rise in motor vehicle exports, which jumped 33.8%.  That was the first positive move in two years, JAMA announced.

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The increases all came as good news for a Japanese economy that has struggled through more than a decade of stagnation.  But there are strong indications things won’t last.  On the local front, the Japanese government has wrapped up its green car incentive program, which helped spur strong demand for models like the Toyota Prius – the top-selling automobile in Japan in 2010 – and the Honda Insight.