Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants
A team member at Honda's Greensburg, Indiana, plant works on a Civic a week after the Japan earthquake.
April 9th, 2011
07:39 PM ET

Reeling from quake, Japan automakers cut output in U.S. plants

Ripple effects from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan continued to be felt by the U.S. work force this week as Japanese automakers announced cuts in plant production at North American factories.

While the cuts were expected, the news signals the long road ahead for Japan's economy, the world's third largest, and how other nations will be affected.

Japan's big three - Honda, Nissan and Toyota - and the global auto industry are  increasingly hampered by parts suppliers in Japan who are struggling in the aftermath of the worst disaster to strike the island nation since World War II.

Strong aftershocks and rolling blackouts almost a month after the magnitude-9.0 quake have continued in metropolitan Tokyo, the nation’s economic center.

Toyota said in a statement on Friday it was cutting production schedules at its North American auto plants “with production suspended on April 15, 18, 21, 22, and 25.”

“The situation in Japan affects many automakers and many other industries. Extraordinary efforts are under way to help suppliers recover,” said Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America. “We are slowing down to conserve parts yet maintain production as much as possible,” he said in the statement.

During shutdowns, Toyota has a custom of continuing to pay its workers while finding them other work - sometimes as volunteers in the factories' communities.

On Friday, the company said it would provide employment for its 25,000 full-time workers, who it calls team members.  "Team members not required to work may report to work for training and plant improvement activities, use vacation or take unpaid time off," the company said.

Toyota also announced Friday that it would resume output at all its Japanese factories on April 18, but at 50% capacity.

With the spring and summer auto-buying season approaching, the situation is starting to worry Wall Street.

"The issue of potential supply shortage is a top global priority," Morgan Stanley said in a recent report. "Even a missing $5 part can stop an assembly line."

Honda Motors also announced cuts in domestic output starting next week, with more reductions based on the availability of parts.

While 80% of Honda products and parts sold in the United States are produced in North America, the automaker said “a few critical parts” come from Japan.

“Thus, the unstable parts supply situation in Japan is impacting our ability to operate our automobile plants here in North America at full strength,” the automaker said.

Also, Nissan said this week it expected 50% output at its five factories in Japan through the end of the month.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda operate about 30 major auto factories in North America, according to their respective websites.

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Filed under: 2011 tsunami • Auto Industry • Earthquake • General Motors • Honda • Toyota
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Rupert world phonehacking

    no problem.. Rupert murdoch and his worldwide hacking friends have an investment plan based on illegal financial phone hacking like in italy. See, the world is now "dangerous" but ruperts superior hackers have no international law restraints unless caught like in britian and paying a 2 dollar fine. Why 2 dollars? Because all the laws are written to protect the baby faced bradleys and thier crazy moms who pray to them.

    April 9, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rupert world phonehacking

    remember.. He who controls your phones without government penalty controls your shrinking human rights asian labor world..right rup?

    April 9, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rupert world phonehacking

    what will rupert and his international military hacking buddies think of next? Revolution? Chaos? Simulated shutdowns? Stay tuned to ruperts worldwide phone hacking services. Peace be upon him.

    April 9, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy

    Dude, we get it. You hate Rupert Murdoch. Please, enough of your conspiracy theory...doubtful that Jesse Ventura will take notice...

    April 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jessica

    Stop referring to how people misspell. Who cares? Just let them get their darn point across! Everyone has misspelled a word or two at some point. It is easy to do when typing, especially on your cell phone. It doesn't mean you are stupid or uneducated.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy

    OT

    There are Grammar Nazis everywhere. They're proud of doing nothing but pointing out the misspellings. They get off on it.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Ralph

      You are fapping your reply there. You post all over this blog like a sweaty teenager.

      Admit it, your palms are getting hairy....

      April 10, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @ralph: what is fapping?

      April 10, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. Candice

    I work at a Lexus dealership, just one of the grease monkeys...I wonder what this means for my job...?

    April 10, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pleasant

    How much will that country suffer? They are extremely hardworking but that doesn't mean nature should be unfair to them. It's not just their people, but their business as well. So sad. 😦 http://www.iampleasant.com/

    April 10, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    Hi Candice. I think your job is safe, because of the quality of Lexus. Of course I'm assuming you aren't a zerk.

    April 10, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    I guess everyone on the E coast sleep-in on the first day of the week. I'd like to sleep-in, but never did really get a handle on this delicate procedure. (shrug)

    April 10, 2011 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    @banasy...I see you there. I like to call them "Online Schoolmarms". (those who correct our writing, some compulsive) The word is an affectionate term we used to give school teachers who ran a one-room school. Kids 5-18 all in one classroom. And she wasn't "just" a teacher. She was the dean of boy's too, armed with a 3' paddle to enforce her good will. The term also stands for a kinda rare tree: it has one big tree trunk that splits in two a few feet off the ground making for what seems to be two trees. And i think we all know why we could never structure classrooms in this manner today. It is the same reason we do not allow seatbelts on most all school busses.

    April 10, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. its-obama-time

    If we would put a higher import tax everything would be perfect. Don't you think the same?? We have to bring back manufacturing HOME!!!

    April 10, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. boog

    Boohoo! thank God He has allowed this to happen!

    April 10, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. jimbo

    I'll just have to wait to buy my new car. Honda and Toyota STILL make a better car than any domestic manufacturer. jd

    April 10, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    The new Nissan Maxima looks really good and drives even gooder. he he....really. This car is a flat-out joy to drive. If you are in the market for this class of auto, you gotta drive one.

    April 10, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
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