Seismic Activity Hampering Japanese Auto Production


A strong earthquake shook western Japan on Monday morning. The 6.1-magnitude quake destroyed property, left tens of thousands without power, stranded commuters, and disrupted Osaka’s industrial sector. Honda, Mitsubishi Motors, and Toyota’s Daihatsu unit all have production facilities in the area and were forced to shut down temporarily.

While Daihatsu remained confident its facilities could be reopened later in the day, Honda’s Suzuka factory in the Mie prefecture is one of the oldest plants on its roster. Despite being modernized over the years, it might not have been able to withstand the vibrations as well as newer facilities. The company said it would remain shuttered as employees perform safety and spot checks. 

Mitsubishi also temporarily shut down its powertrain assembly sites in Kyoto and Shiga. The company also has a research and development center in the area, however, it wasn’t mentioned. After comprehensive inspections, Mitsubishi says both plants will resume operations.

Presently, Japan’s national broadcaster, NHK, reports that at least 350 people were injured by the quake. Local authorities place the official tally nearer to 300. There are at least three known fatalities that can be directly attributed to the event. Secondary tremors are expected over the next few days.

[Source: Automotive News] [Image: Honda]