The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan have disrupted the industrial output of the island nation for more than a week, with auto manufacturers grappling with rolling power outages, frequent aftershocks, and badly disrupted supply chains.
Work at the Nissan Motor Co. parts factories resumed on Monday, March 21, 2011, with shifts set to resume at six other facilities on Thursday. Most of the remaining stoppages are in the Iwaki prefecture where Tokyo Electric Power continues to battle a potential nuclear meltdown.
The Nissan plants are not getting adequate water, electricity, and gas. David Reuter, head of communications for Nissan in the U.S. said, "The stoppage at Iwaki is not affecting North American production now, but it could possibly in the long term and that's what we are evaluating."
Toyota Motor Corp., the largest automaker in Japan, will keep 21 of its auto and components plants closed through Tuesday and then re-evaluate their status. The company's situation is complicated by the fact that it draws hundred of components from a large network of suppliers, most of which have also suffered damage in the catastrophe.
Honda has closed six factories through Wednesday, but builds 80 percent of its vehicles in the United States. Both Mazda and Suzuki will re-open their facilities on Tuesday.
Analysts say that the full effect of the disaster for the auto industry will not be felt for weeks, but, as an example, The New York Times reported on Monday, March 21 that Volvo had only a 10-day supply of navigation and climate control systems on hand that are built in Japan. These kinds of shortages will likely become more problematic during Japan's recovery period.