Automakers still reeling from Japan quake
Every major carmaker will feel the impact from the disaster, analysts say. Japanese automakers have been hit the hardest.
Toyota (TM) says it will probably idle a truck plant in Texas because it can't get enough parts, according to Reuters. "It is likely that we will see some nonproduction days coming," a spokesman said. "At this point, we are still not sure of when those might hit or, if they do it, what the duration may be."
The entire sector is feeling aftershocks from the tragedy. Even American automakers are not immune, as they import parts from Japan. General Motors (GM) temporarily stopped production at a plant in Louisiana and laid off more than 50 workers at a plant in New York.
But the Japanese automakers are the hardest hit, with recovery efforts hampered by widespread power outages.
Post continues after video about Toyota and Honda production:
Toyota has closed all 18 of its plants in Japan through March 26 and said it could lose production of 140,000 vehicles in that time, Bloomberg reports. Analysts estimate the company is losing 6.5 billion yen a day.
Toyota builds cars in North America as well but still imports about 25% of the parts from Japan and other countries.
Honda is keeping two Japanese plants closed until at least April 3 and has said one key research center will take months to return to normal.
Smaller parts makers went offline as well. Nissan's chief executive estimated that 40 parts suppliers are still hampered. Honda says a third of the 110 parts suppliers it uses in Japan have suffered damage, The Orlando Sentinel reports.
Toyota is feeling intense pressure because its cars, particularly its new hybrids, are in high demand. The company is scrambling to restore production on three hybrid models -- the Prius, Lexus HS250h and Lexus CT200h -- by March 28, Bloomberg reports. But it's not clear whether Toyota is using its own parts or whether it must find another supplier.
And Nissan is desperate to resume production on the Leaf. It was able to resume operations Thursday at one plant in Japan and another factory that makes the car's battery, Reuters reports, but work could be affected by rolling blackouts.
Car buyers will feel the final impact from these production delays. Toyota said consumers might not find the specific color or trim level on some of its cars in the future, The New York Times reports. Analysts say the prices for Japanese cars are already climbing as well.
Car dealers aren't sure what to make of it all. Many say they have enough cars and parts to last several weeks. But after that? "I'm a little worried," the general manager of one Florida dealership told the Orlando Sentinel.
Joe Smith started another day early. having set his alarm clock (made in Japan) for 6:00 a.m. While his coffee pot (made in Japan) is perking, he puts his hair dryer (made in Taiwan) to work and shaves with his electric razor (made in Hong Kong). He puts on a dress shirt (made in Taiwan), his designer jeans (made in Singapore), and a pair of tennis shoes (made in Korea). After cooking up some breakfast in his new electric skillet (made in Philippines), he sits down to figure out on his calculator (made in mexico) how much he can spend today. After setting his watch (made in Japan) to the radio (made in Hong Kong), he goes out, gets in his car (made in Japan), and goes looking, as he has been for a long time, for a good-paying American job.
Sound like anyone you know?
The carmakers need to contract their work out to others. Many smaller machine shops in the US and elsewhere could greatly benefit from the opportunity to manufacture some parts for the Japanese car companies. It would be welcomed work at a time when many need it, and there is no one doing it. Even if it's just for a month, it would benefit everyone.
Also need all parts made in the USA again as well NO more NAFTA we import all export next to nothing but American jobs.
What does China and Japan import from us? (oh our technoliogy they steal) and we import all their junk this is not fair trade.
It's hard to have faith in American managed automakers when they have to get on their hands and knees and beg congress (every single American taxpayer) to be bailed out. All the while, that snake Gettlefinger is lining his pockets with YOUR MONEY!
It's great that everyone's so up in arms about this. Maybe it will teach us that to compete, we actually have to quit this liberal, communist union nonsense and "force" assembly line workers to compete with assembly line workers around the world instead of making $50 an hour and retiring at age 50... Completely ridiculous.
Were we not so unionized, no one would give a crap because we'd pay what cars are actually worth on the world market, rather than an overpaid worker's retirement and health care funds.
I'll NEVER buy another American car until the tax payer money is paid back with interest!
UAW members make $16 an hour to start and go up to around $30 and hour with an average of $10 an hour in benefits.
The labor cost of an American made car is around $800 higher than a car made in Japan. Yet an American made car that's comparable to a Japanese made car costs an average of $2500 less. That's because US auto company executives push inferior engineered cars and also use cheaper parts and materials to try and squeeze the most profits they can make so they get their huge bonuses. So when Japanese cars sell better here, the executives blame it on the union workers when the real reason is it's their own decisions and greed that lead to the Japanese cars being better quality. And even though they cost more, a lot of Americans don't mind paying a little more money to get a much better quality car.
It's the same ruse that's been used before. The executives screw up a company and they turn it around and blame the union workers for it. It happened in the auto industry, the steel industry and a lot of manufacturing companies. CEO's and the top executives of US auto companies make 300-400 times more than the average line worker. In Japan the same type of executives make 5-10 times what the average line worker makes. Who are the overpaid employees in America? The line workers or management?
Japan also kills any chance of American vehicles being imported there. I remember when the Jeep Grand Cherokee was first manufactured in the mid 1990's. I read an article how there was a demand for it in Japan but there was a tariff on it which drove the price from around $25,000 to $40,000. We should be doing the same thing here, especially on products made by an American company who closed up and moved their manufacturing out of the country.
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