The global effect to the auto industry following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan is still be assessed. But Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda have all stopped production, thousands of cars have been destroyed or damaged and the available of some models in the United States and other key sales countries has yet to be determined.
Nissan, Japan’s second-largest car maker, reports 2,300 vehicles were burned or crumpled in the disaster, including nearly 1,300 Infiniti M, EX and FX models ready for transport to the United States. Additionally, some Z models, among other Nissan offerings, were destroyed. Correspondingly, six Nissan production plants suffered structural damage.
Insurance analysts estimate the Japan disaster may cost the global automotive industry as much as $10 billion.
Thousands of other vehicles in Japan, parked in commercial centers, residential areas and on on city streets, were also destroyed as the video below details.
Despite the vehicle destruction, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota believe U.S. inventory should not be overtly affected. A large number of vehicles were already in transit, and some of the automakers’ most popular models are made in the United States or in other countries.
The availability of some less popular and luxury-brand models, including Scion, Lexus, Acura, and Infiniti offerings, made in Japan is unknown.
Honda Nissan and Toyota have not yet decided when production will resume. Mazda announced it may resume manufacturing as early as March 17th. Honda officials, quoted in the Detroit News, also reported:
“the disruptions in Japan would not have an immediate impact on its North American operations, which produce 90 percent of the vehicles Honda sells in the United States.”
Article Last Updated: March 14, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.