Earthquake's Effects Rattle Japanese AutomakersAutomakers and other manufacturers in Japan are shutting down plants temporarily as they await news of the fate of several crippled nuclear power plants, which are causing electricity shortages in the Asian nation.

Toyota Motor (TM), the world's largest automaker, has suspended all production in Japan until Wednesday in the wake of the massive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeast part of the country Friday. The shutdown, which began Monday, is expected to reduce Toyota's output at its 12 factories in Japan by about 40,000 vehicles, Reuters reported. In January, Toyota produced about 234,000 vehicles at its Japanese plants.

Nissan Motors (NSANY) and Honda Motor (HMC), Japan's second- and third-largest car manufacturers, respectively, are also shuttering plants. Reuters reported Monday that Honda will suspend production until Sunday because of the quake. Nissan is halting production at two plants north of Tokyo and close to the hardest-hit region in the northern part of Honshu, Japan's most populous island, until Friday, The Detroit News reported. Operations at four other plants have been suspended until Wednesday.

Parts Shortages, Infrastructure Issues

Smaller manufacturers, including Mazda Motor, have had to suspend production because of parts shortages, even though the company has no plants in the stricken region.

"We have yet to hear of any major damage to production facilities," Deutsche Bank auto analyst Kurt Sanger told The Detroit News. "The larger question is likely disruption to the supply chain."

How badly the natural disaster will affect Japan's output of automobiles and other products remains unclear. Last year, the country produced 9.6 million vehicles, with about half exported to foreign markets.

The earthquake and tsunami damaged parts factories, rail lines and other transportation infrastructure, making it much more difficult to get material where it's needed.

Still, the News noted that the quake has had no immediate impact on Japanese automakers' U.S. operations, which have enough inventory for two months of sales.

Nervous Nikkei

On Sunday, electronics-maker Sony (SNE) said it had closed its technology center in the northeastern city of Sendai because of damage caused by the quake. Sony also temporarily closed six other electronic component and equipment plants elsewhere in the country.

The shutdowns have sent share prices on the Tokyo Stock Exchange spiraling downward. In Tuesday's trading session, Sony shares fell nearly 9%, following steeper market losses, Reuters reported. Shares of Toyota fell more than 7%.

Declines in Japanese and other Asian stock markets accelerated after the Kyodo news agency quoted the Tokyo metropolitan government as saying that "minute levels" of radiation have been detected in the Japanese capital, The New York Times reported.

"People have gotten very nervous," Tohru Sasaki, a foreign exchange strategist at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), told The New York Times. "We don't know if we'll be able to make it to work tomorrow."

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

yes good old day buy USA cars we all had jobs now people think buy japs junk cars and now we have no jobs we eat fishhead and rice and japs fill there bank with are money and say you beat use at war but we have all your money and your company and jobs for the greed of money ***hole Americans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 17 2011 at 6:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Nuclear powered cars from Japan. Dont worry about the cancer it will cause you.

March 16 2011 at 2:43 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Most of the Japanese cars that patriotic and loyal Americans purchase are actually made in America. This provided jobs for Americans but sends billions of dollars of profit to Japan every year. Most "American" cars are made in Canada or Mexico with no American labor involved. Who is to be blamed for this sad state of affairs? Greedy Americans who want to spend the absolute least for everything they buy. China, Mexico, and every other asian and latin american country are
grateful for your dollars.

March 16 2011 at 12:52 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hueydriver128's comment

Most foreign cars bought in America are manufactured in Japan and assembled in America, big difference. I don't mean to be disagreeable but we need to get facts accurate so that people make better decisions. Most American cars are still manufactured in America. However, there are a few (in relative contrast) assembled in Canada and Mexico. Someone said yesterday that Toyota employed 35,000 people in the U S. That is no where near true and if it were, it would represent a relatively small job corp for Americans. Toyota Motor employees 71,000 worldwide. To give a comparison, G M has over 200,000 in the U S. Toyota sent approximately 20 billion dollars in net profit back to Japan last year. Japan only started to assemble cars in the U S because of a"chicken tax" of 25% better known as import tax. I've said before and will say again Japan is not over here out of the kindness of their heart to help Americans with jobs. They are here to make money and for no other reason. One only needs to check our interstate highways to see what is wrong with our economy. Every other 18 wheeler has a Chinese container on it, every other car or truck that goes by is foreign and gas is almost $4 a gallon. Americans need to buy American and they need to start with cars. Every time someone says a Japanese car is better is only falling into propaganda started by the Japanese. That is not now nor ever has been true.

March 16 2011 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i used to play nintendo as a kid, then gave it up forever once i found out it was Japanese made.

March 16 2011 at 12:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Toyota and the others can cease operation for good for all I care.

March 16 2011 at 12:02 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

I bought GMC in 2002 and have regreted it because of the engine noise and the leaking oil. Cost more to fix it than the truck is worth. Had used Toyota for seventeen years and only problem was shocks and mufflers. Installed muffler myself in fifteen minutes using the same bolts. Never happened with an american automobile.

March 15 2011 at 10:47 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to moatva's comment

You must be really proud that you support the Japanese.

March 16 2011 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I bought a Honda in 2001 and had to replace the transmission at 39,000 miles for $3000.00. I bought a Toyota in 1996 and spent over $3000.00 fixing it with less than 55,000 miles on it. Never spent anything on American cars with that few of miles! The best cars I ever owned were American.

March 16 2011 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hello Roho

AS long as theres lobbying & money,this will sell us OUT !!!!!!!! Same goes for gas,the pres.does nothing;congress does nothing,but bullshit around & who put these people in office ya'll did,they all lied to get where they are now.A politation is the biggest **** there is.Big Corps did away with all our jobs & left us flat on our ass,imported folks to USA,no cards,no citizenships,no nothing & put them on our wefare;our S/S system;our unemployment; I can't get unenployment after working 48 yrs.IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG HERE,YOU CAN BET YOUR SWEET ASS THERE IS !!! " WAKE UP AMERICA"

March 15 2011 at 10:37 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply



March 15 2011 at 10:17 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

fine by me, we can use LESS japanese cars....

March 15 2011 at 10:07 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Do buy American and DON'T buy a Chinese car.

March 15 2011 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply