The Japanese earthquake and tsunami will affect supplies of greener cars. On Wednesday, March 16, Japanese auto companies extended shutdowns of some of their car-assembly plants.
The US imported 1.2 million vehicles from Japan in 2009. The earthquake, tsunami and radiation from damaged nuclear power plants may impact supplies of high-mileage cars made only in Japan.
Toyota Motor Corp. halted auto production on March 14 and said it will extend production halts at its car plants affected by the quake and tsunami through March 22. This will impact almost 100,000 vehicles. The company said it hopes to restart plants that make parts for overseas factories on March 21.
Nissan said all North American manufacturing plants will continue to operate on schedule. However, Honda Motor Co. has suspended production at six Japanese plants until at least March 21 because of the shortage of parts from northeastern Japan.
Cars affected by the quake and tsunami include the Toyota’s Prius, and the Camry Hybrid. The Honda Insight and CR-Z are also made in Japan. At present, Honda cannot get its products out of the country due to road damage inflicted by the killer quake.
The timing for a disruption of distribution of Japan’s greener vehicles comes at a time when high gas prices have produced greater demand for Japanese electric vehicles, hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles.