Ja­pan’s auto cri­sis to worsen

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

THE auto in­dus­try dis­rup­tions trig­gered by Ja­pan’s earth­quake and tsunami are about to get worse.

In the weeks ahead, car buy­ers will have dif­fi­culty find­ing the model they want in cer­tain colours, thou­sands of auto plant work­ers will likely be told to stay home, and com­pa­nies such as Toy­ota, Honda and oth­ers will lose an es­ti­mated bil­lions of dol­lars in rev­enue.

More than two

weeks since the nat­u­ral disas­ter, in­ven­to­ries of cru­cial car sup­plies – from com­puter chips to paint pig­ments – a r e d wi n d l i n g f a s t a s Ja­panese f ac­to­ries t hat make t hem strug­gle t o restart.

B e c a u s e p a r t s a n d sup­plies are shipped by slow-mov­ing boats, the real drop-off has yet to be felt by fac­to­ries in the US, Europe and Asia. That will come by the mid­dle of next month.

‘‘ This is the big­gest im- pact ever in the his­tory of the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try,’’ says Koji Endo, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Ad­vanced Re­search Ja­pan in Tokyo.

Much of Ja­pan’s auto in­dus­try – the sec­ond largest sup­plier of cars in the world – re­mains idle. Few plants were se­ri­ously dam­aged, but with sup­plies of wa­ter and elec­tric­ity fleet­ing, no one can say when fac­to­ries will crank up. Some say it could be as late as this sum­mer.

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