If you’re planning to buy or lease a Japanese car in the near future, you should follow the model you are interested in closely at dealerships.
Some Toyota, Nissan, Honda and other cars are behind schedule because of the traumatic earthquake that hit Japan last month.
Some of the auto manufacturers have had to close facilities because of damage caused by the earthquake. Others have to be closed temporarily because Japan also makes quite a few components that go into the vehicles they make.
Even GM, Ford, Chrysler and other car manufacturers from around the world have had to idle factories or make other plans for production because of the shortage of parts needed to build interior and engines.
Most Japanese auto factories work on a “Just in Time” system where they would produce parts “just in time” for them to be used on an assembly line or shipped and used by other manufacturers right when they’re needed.
This is really cost effective for both the manufacturer and the end customer that will use the parts. As raw materials come into the factory, they are used right away so that there is not a lot of inventory sitting idle and costing the companies money.
The only problem is if there is some sort of disruption in the production of the parts (like an earthquake).
Typically, if a component can not be made for some reason, the factory can change to produce other components while they attend to the problem with the original component.
The earthquake did so much damage though, that it will take many months before these factories can get back on track and the efficient production system flows again.
Who pays the price? Well, we do. The consumer will have to wait for the Toyota Prius or Nissan Rogue that are made exclusively in Japan.
As I said, the Toyota and Honda plants in the US are being affected also because the parts needed to complete vehicles at some of these factories are closed or way behind schedule in Japan.
The US car manufacturers may gain from this tragedy in Japan because consumers may not be able to buy the model they may have wanted from Japan.
It’s an unfortunate aftermath of a colossal wave of destruction that’s being felt around the world but, most exclusively in Japan.
Check with dealerships and check on some automotive websites and they should be able to tell you the vehicles that will be most affected.
With that information, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll wait or look at other alternatives.
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