Nearly two-thirds of Toyota Motor Corp.’s local output in March was cut, making it highly likely that it will fall to No. 3 in the world automaker sales rankings behind General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami has disrupted Japan's auto sector supply chain and power supplies have been reduced due to damage at a major nuclear plant.
Last Monday, investors that expected overseas competitors to benefit from an economic crisis in Japan had pushed up shares in South Korea's Hyundai Motors and associate Kia Motors to record highs.
Suh Sung-moon, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities in Seoul, said that Hyundai and Kia stand to benefit the most from the Japanese car industry’s struggles. Hyundai will concentrate on the high-end market and Kia can boost volume shipments. Hyundai believes that this is a “great mixture” to keep up with Japanese rivals.
Meanwhile, Honda Motor Co. has released a statement to say that production will normalize towards the end of the year. Honda, which posted a 62.9% drop in domestic production in March, said that output is at 50% of its original plans until the end of June.
In March, domestic production at Toyota dropped by 62.7%. Meanwhile, Nissan Motor Co. said that its output fell 52.4%. Koji Endo, managing director of Advanced Research Japan in Tokyo, said that Toyota is almost sure it will lose its top global sales rank held since 2008.