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Earthquake also deals blow to Japanese auto, supplier plants

As the nation of Japan faces the catastrophic effects of Friday's tragic earthquake and resulting tsunami, the country's automotive industry also began taking stock of the damage and disruption to operations. According to a news release from Honda Motor Co., damage was widespread in the Tochigi area where the company has a number of operations. Honda has confirmed the death of an R&D associate at Honda's Tochigi R&D Center, who was killed when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria. The associate was a 43-year-old male, said the release, which didn’t name the man.

PlasticsToday Staff

March 14, 2011

3 Min Read
Earthquake also deals blow to Japanese auto, supplier plants

As the nation of Japan faces the catastrophic effects of Friday's tragic earthquake and resulting tsunami, the country's automotive industry also began taking stock of the damage and disruption to operations. According to a news release from Honda Motor Co., damage was widespread in the Tochigi area where the company has a number of operations.

Honda has confirmed the death of an R&D associate at Honda's Tochigi R&D Center, who was killed when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria. The associate was a 43-year-old male, said the release, which didn’t name the man.

More than 30 Honda associates were injured in the Tochigi area from collapsing ceilings and other damage inflicted by the earthquake.

Honda’s release expressed the company’s condolences to the family of the associate who died, and its “thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and all those injured or displaced by the tragedy.”

Some Honda plants have closed in Japan, and will remain closed until further notice. Those include the Tochigi engine, transmission, and chassis parts plant; two plants in Saitama (the Sayama plant at the Saitama factory produces the CR-V, Accord, U.S. Fit, Acura RL and TSX; and the Ogawa Plant at the same facility produces automotive engines); two plants in Hamamatsu that produce automotive transmissions and outboard marine engines.

The Suzuka plant remained operational on Friday, but has been closed today (Monday, March 14). That facility produces the Japan Fit, Civic, Civic Hybrid, Insight, and Honda CR-Z (all hybrid vehicles). The Kumamoto Factory in southern Japan, which produces motorcycles, remains in operation.

Honda said that it is assessing the resumption of operations and the long-term impact to its operations from the earthquake. Because more than 80% of Honda and Acura products sold in the U.S. are produced in North America, the company said it does not expect any impact on availability of Honda products in North America.

Honda also confirmed the well being of nearly all Honda associates on assignment in Japan from North America, and continues to seek such confirmation.

Toyota expressed its concern for the safety of all Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC) team members, as well as team members at its partner companies in the Tohoku region of Japan. The company has been able to confirm that there have been no injuries at the Tokyo head office, as well as the Higashifuji, Tochigi office; Yamanashi office; Toyota Motor Tohoku facilities; and the TMC subsidiary vehicle manufacturers.

Several plants stopped production, including Toyota subsidiary facilities that produce parts and vehicles, including the Toyota Motor Hokkaido plant,; the Toyota Motor Tohoku plant; the Central Motor Corporation Miyagi plant (which also produces the Yaris model); and the Kanto Auto Works Iwate plant, which produces the Scion xB and Scion xD.

Employees at these facilities were evacuated to safe areas. Toyota said that it is currently conducting a detailed survey of each plant to determine the extent of any damage. “We are also currently assessing the situation at our suppliers, dealers and the impact on North American import vehicles,” the release said.

SupplierBusiness, an IHS Global Insight Company, said there have been disruptions at numerous component supplier plants including Toyota Boshoku’s Miyagi plant, which suffered heavy damage. Denso sustained damage at its facility under construction in Miyagi prefecture. —PlasticsToday Staff

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