Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Japan quake impact on auto, electronics makers

Following is a roundup of the impact of this month's devastating earthquake and tsunami on Japanese manufacturers of autos and electronics.

Plant shutdowns in Japan threaten supplies to manufacturers across the globe of items from semiconductors to car parts.

Japanese companies are not only reeling from damage to factories and suppliers in quake-hit northeastern Japan, they are also suffering from fuel shortages nationwide and power outages in the Tokyo area that are affecting production, distribution and the ability of staff to get to work.


* Toyota Motor Co has halted operations at its 12 main assembly plants in Japan until at least Tuesday, which will result in lost production of 95,000 vehicles. On Monday the firm begin making car parts at plants near its base in Toyota City,

central Japan, for overseas assembly facilities. It resumed making parts for service centres to repair vehicles already on the road last week.

* Honda Motor Co extended its production halt in Japan to Wednesday from Sunday. On Monday, Honda said one-fifth of its Japan-based Tier 1 suppliers affected by the earthquake had said it would take more than a week to recover. Honda made 69,170 cars in January in Japan, accounting for around one-quarter of its production.

* Nissan Motor Co resumed limited operations at five of its plants in Japan on Monday with vehicle production set to start on Thursday. Nissan said production of parts for overseas manufacturing restarted at its Oppama, Tochigi, Yokohama, Kyushu and Nissan Shatai plants. Restoration of its Iwaki engine plant in northern Japan will take longer than the other plants, the company said. Nissan made 81,851 cars in January in Japan, where it manufactures 23 percent of its vehicles. Goldman Sachs has calculated that one day's lost production costs Nissan about 2 billion yen ($25 million) in profit.

* Mazda Motor Corp resumed limited operation at its Hiroshima and Yamaguchi plants on Tuesday to produce vehicle repair parts, vehicle parts to be shipped to overseas plants and semi-finished goods. It has not set a time for resumption for full-scale production.

* Fuji Heavy Industries Co said all five of its car and parts-related plants for its Subaru-brand vehicles in Gunma prefecture, north of Tokyo, will be shut at least until

Thursday, pushing back a previously planned restart on Tuesday. Production of vehicle parts to be shipped to overseas manufacturing plants is expected to start on Wednesday and production of vehicle repair parts is scheduled to start on Thursday.


* Sony Corp said shortages of parts and raw materials would force it to suspend or reduce production at five plants in central and southern Japan making digital cameras, camera lenses, flat-screen televisions and other goods. Another plant may be affected by rolling power blackouts. Six production sites in northern Japan have been halted since the quake. If shortages continue, Sony may consider temporarily shifting some production overseas.

* Toshiba said output was suspended at a factory in Iwate prefecture making system LSI chips for microprocessors and image sensors, with no time frame yet for a resumption of output. An assembly line at a plant making small liquid crystal

displays for smartphones and other devices will be closed for a month to repair damaged machinery.

* Canon said all of its domestic camera production would remain suspended at least until Thursday, citing difficulty obtaining parts.

* Nikon Corp said it was still working to restore four production facilities damaged in the quake, including two of its precision-equipment plants. Nikon does not have a

timetable to reopen the plants. The effect on cameras and lenses is seen as minor, since most output for those devices is in Thailand.

* Panasonic said it still had no timetable for restarting production at manufacturing facilities in northern Japan halted by the quake, including plants making optical

pick-ups and other electronic parts, digital cameras and audio equipment. None has been badly damaged, but infrastructure needs to be restored before manufacturing can resume, the company said.

* Renesas Electronics, the world's No.5 chipmaker, said it had restarted operations at one semiconductor plant but production at another six of its 22 factories in Japan remained suspended.


* Shin-Etsu Chemical, the world's leading maker of silicon wafers, said two of its plants near the worst-hit areas remained offline. The firm has not said when it will restart operations. Some of the wafers made in Japan are shipped to chip companies overseas. Shin-Etsu is trying to boost production elsewhere, particularly of 300-millimetre wafers, to make up the shortfall.

* Jamco, a Japanese company making galleys for the long-awaited Boeing 787 Dreamliner, has said delivery could be delayed if gasoline becomes more scarce.

($1 = 81.045 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds, Mariko Katsumura and James Topham in Tokyo; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

Source: Reuters via Yahoo News

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