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Parts crisis in quake-hit Japan
Production at Toyota's HQ in Nagoya is relatively normal but the main problem is parts supply

HOME BASE: Production at Toyota's HQ in Nagoya is relatively normal but the main problem is parts supply.

TOKYO, Japan - Japan's major automakers are trying to find alternative parts suppliers to replace those knocked out by the March 11 colossal earthquake that has halted most of the country's vehicle productiion.

Analysts say production is likely to resume within a few weeks and automakers say they will be able to make up for much of lost production. But, analysts say, what's likely to hurt in the longer run are logistical difficulties caused by destroyed roads and limits on electricity supply.

Power stations are not working, including several nuclear reactors that are beyond recovery and leaking radiation in a still unfolding crisis. The yen's recent surge to record highs could also hamper automakers.


Toyota and Lexus have stopped production throughout Japan but hope to resume in part on March 22. The company, among automakers in Japan, will probably be least affected because most of its parts suppliers are near the company's Nagoya headquarters, south-west of Tokyo, which is far from the disaster's epicenter in the north-east.

Nissan and Mitsubishi restarted some plants using their stocks of parts but can only run until those stocks are exhausted.

"It's all guesswork," Koji Endo, an analyst with Advanced Research Japan, said of the potential damage. Automakers were scrambling to find other suppliers, including overseas ones, to replace those disabled by the quake.

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