Japanese carmakers suspend operations due to heavy snow

Article by Anita Panait, on February 20, 2014

Japanese carmakers Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp., and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. have already resumed operations at their sites which had to suspend work as heavy snow disrupted deliveries of needed parts. On the other hand, Mazda Motor Corp. has suspended its operations on Tuesday morning at its Hiroshima site due to the same reason. Operations at one of Nissan Motor Corp.’s sites were still stalled. Because of heavy snow around Japan that shut down roads, carmakers were unable to receive their parts on time and will have to suspend car production for one or more days. The suspension comes as Japanese carmakers try to meet strong demand for cars ahead of a sales tax increase that will take effect in April.

"It may be difficult to fully catch up on the lost production volume, though that is up to how much the companies can operate their plants on the weekends," remarked Satomi Hamada, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive.

She noted that the suspensions will have little impact on domestic sales since carmakers are likely to focus on producing vehicles for the domestic market to meet strong demand instead for exports.

Toyota resumed operations Tuesday at all its four sites affected by the weather, including the Tsutsumi facility that builds the Prius hybrid. The four sites account for around 30 percent of Toyota's production in Japan, with about 60 percent of vehicles they build exported, according to an estimate by IHS.

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