JAPANESE CAR MAKERS REPORT ON THE EARTHQUAKE AND ITS AFTERMATH
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Published on Fri, Mar 11, 2011
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Honda, Nissan and Toyota reported factory closings in order to assess the damage and injuries in the wake of the 8.9 earthquake in Japan. Honda also reports a fatality of an associate at the Tochigi R&D Center, when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria. Here are the first-hand accounts from the automakers: HONDA “Damage was widespread in the Tochigi area, where Honda has a number of operations, said Jeffrey Smith, Assistant Vice President for Corporate Affairs & Communications for American Honda Motor Company. “Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has confirmed the fatality of a Honda R&D associate at the Tochigi R&D Center, when a wall collapsed in a cafeteria,” said Smith. “The associate was male, 43 years old.” More than 30 Honda associates were injured in the Tochigi area from collapsing ceilings and other damage during the earthquake, according to Honda representatives. “Honda would like to express its sincere condolences to the family of the associate who died as a result of this earthquake, said Smith. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan and all those injured or displaced by this tragedy.” In addition, Honda reports that some Honda plants have closed in Japan, and will remain closed through Monday, including: • Tochigi Engine, transmission and chassis parts • Saitama Two plants: Sayama plant in the Saitama factory produces CR-V, Accord, U.S. Fit, Acura RL and TSX. • In addition, Ogawa Plant in the Saitama factory produces automobile engines. • Hamamatsu Two plants -- automobile transmissions, outboard marine engines. • Suzuka operated Friday, will not be in production Monday. • This factory produces Japan Fit, Civic, Civic Hybrid, Insight and Honda CR-Z (all hybrid models). • Kumamoto Factory in southern Japan remains in operation (motorcycles). Honda in Japan is assessing the resumption of operations and the long-term impact to its operations from the Japan earthquake.
Honda's North American Operations “There is no immediate impact on Honda's operations in North America, said Honda spokesperson Ron Lietzke. “More than 80 percent of Honda and Acura products sold in the U.S. are produced in North America. The vast majority of automotive parts for Honda automobiles manufactured in North America are sourced in the region.” Honda is assessing the long-term impact on Honda auto production in North America, since some auto parts are supplied from Japan. “There will be no major impact on the availability of Honda products in North America. Honda Fit, Insight and CR-Z, and Acura TSX and RL are produced in Japan, said Lietzke. A small percentage of CR-Vs are produced in Japan. Honda says it has confirmed the well-being of nearly all Honda associates on assignment in Japan from North America, and continues to seek such confirmation. “Honda's operations in North America and globally will do everything they can to support the recovery of Honda's operations in Japan, said Smith.
NISSAN “At this time, we are currently confirming the safety of all Nissan employees and continue to assess the situation at our Japanese facilities, but we do not believe our operations have been significantly affected,” proclaimed a report issued by Nissan in Franklin, Tennessee. “Here in the Americas we are operating normally and we do not anticipate any immediate impact on Americas operations, facilities, dealers or customers.” Operations have been suspended at Nissan’s Japan plants through Sunday, March 13, according to Nissan. “Nissan’s global headquarters building in Yokohama was not significantly affected, is safe and operational,” according to Nissan’s report issued to the press. “So far, there are no reports of employee casualties and employee safety precautions are underway at all locations. Nissan’s team in the Americas will monitor the operational status of our Japan facilities through the weekend for any scheduling updates.” For more updates, visit the Nissan Global Newsroom from Japan. SUZUKI Suzuki Motor Corporation today announced there is currently no reported harm to Suzuki’s personnel, headquarters or manufacturing plants located in the Shizuoka Prefecture region. “The earthquake’s epicenter was located 240 miles north of Tokyo while Suzuki’s headquarters are in Hamamatsu City, which is 158 miles south of Tokyo,” said Jeff Holland, Director of Public Relations for American Suzuki Motor Corporation. “We are currently gathering information about any additional effects to Suzuki’s operations, including port distribution, plant and dealership operations, as well as our vendors and suppliers located in the damaged areas.” “Due to widespread power outages communication is challenging, but we will continue to report information as it is received and communicate via our media website,” said Holland. (media.suzuki.com/auto) and social media outlets, including Twitter.com/suzukiauto and Facebook.com/suzukiauto.
TOYOTA Toyota issued the following statement to the press: “Toyota's associates and team members in North America extend our heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences to the people of Japan, our colleagues and their families.” Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) says it has established a company-wide emergency task force to assess the situation and take initial measures. “As of now, Toyota has confirmed that there have been no injuries at the Tokyo head office, as well as the Higashifuji, Tochigi office, Yamanashi office, and Toyota Motor Tohoku facilities,” according to Toyota. “We are continuing to gather information on our other operations in Japan.” While all TMC plants have restarted production, Toyota confirms that many of the Toyota subsidiary plants that produce parts and vehicles have ceased production, including: • Toyota Motor Hokkaido Plant • Toyota Motor Tohoku Plant • Central Motor Corporation Miyagi Plant, which also produces the Yaris model. • Kanto Auto Works Iwate Plant, which also produces the Scion xB and Scion xD. Employees at these facilities have been evacuated to safe areas, according to Toyota. “We are also currently assessing the situation at our suppliers, dealers and the impact on North American import vehicles. We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.”