Japan’s auto crisis to worsen
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.