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As someone who lived in Northeast Japan for two years about a decade ago, news of the massive earthquake and tsunami there has been personally unsettling, and it should go without saying that the most important thing in this situation is not when green car plants will come back online. Still, that's what this blog is about, so that'll be our contribution to the earthquake news. For now, auto plants in the region are silent.

For example, Nissan told AutoblogGreen late yesterday:

Production at all of our facilities is suspended through tomorrow [March 14] as we continue to assess the damages and situation going forward. Nothing has been determined beyond that. We will keep you informed as we have updates to share.

In fact, Toyota, Honda and Mazda have all joined Nissan in turning production off in 22 assembly plants for now, to keep workers safe and because of the general impacts of the tragedy. How this will specifically impact cars like the Prius and the new Prius V is unclear. Insurance analysts are estimating that the earthquake and resulting tsunami might end up costing the global industry up to $10 billion.

The photo above shows unidentified vehicles that had been ready for shipping in Ibaraki prefecture but were swept away by the tsunami. Statements from Mazda, Honda and Toyota are available after the jump. If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross for disaster relief, you can do so here. Thanks to David M. and Vince for the emails!

[Source: Nissan, Telegraph UK | Image: STR/AFP/Getty]
Show full PR text
Mazda to Adjust Production Following Major Earthquake in Eastern Japan
March 14, 2011

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation wishes to convey its heartfelt sympathy and concern for all people affected by the major earthquake in eastern Japan.

Mazda places the highest priority on ensuring the safety of all employees and their families at its suppliers in the affected region. Therefore, Mazda has decided to suspend production at its Hiroshima and Hofu plants from the night shift on March 14 through to the night shift on March 16, 2011.

Mazda will announce any further production changes for March 17 onward as soon as a decision is made.

Honda's Statement on the Major Earthquake in Northeastern Japan

Honda would like to express its deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims of The 2011 Off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake in northeastern Japan and our sincere hopes for the earliest possible relief and recovery of the affected areas.

Honda operations

Considering the current situation of the nationwide recovery efforts in Japan, Honda has decided the following:

*As of March 14, all production activities are suspended at the following Honda plants: Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory (Sayama, Saitama), Ogawa Plant (Ogawa-machi, Hiki-gun Saitama), Tochigi Factory (Moka, Tochigi), Hamamatsu Factory (Hamamatsu, Shizuoka) and Suzuka Factory (Suzuka, Mie).
*From March 15 through 20, Honda will suspend all production activities at its plants listed above as well as at Kumamoto Factory (Ozu-machi, Kikuchi-gun, Kumamoto).
*From March 14 through 20, Honda will suspend regular operations at all Honda facilities in the Tochigi area, where damage was more serious, (including Tochigi Factory, Honda R&D Co., Ltd. R&D Center (Tochigi) , Honda Engineering Co., Ltd., etc.), and focus on the recovery of each operation. Honda associates will not come to work during this time.

Aid for the victims of the earthquake

With the hope to contribute to the earliest possible relief and recovery of affected areas, Honda will provide the following aid:

*300 million yen toward the relief and recovery effort
*A total of 1,000 generators (gasoline-powered and home-use gas canister-powered), along with 5,000 gas canisters. Honda also will dispatch its staff to explain how to use the donated generators.

Electricity conservation and cooperation for the rolling blackout requested by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Honda will cooperate to the electricity conservation efforts and the rolling blackout, prioritizing the relief and recovery of affected areas.

Recruiting activities

Honda decided the following regarding its recruiting activities so that victims of the earthquake can focus on recovery.

*Prospective associates, who are scheduled to join the company in April, can choose to delay their first day of work by up to two months if they or their families are affected by the earthquake.
*For those who have applied for next year's recruiting process starting in April of this year (associates who would join the company in April 2012) from the affected areas (six prefectures in Tohoku areas and Ibaraki prefecture), Honda will ensure that the testing/interviewing of those applicants will be conducted in June or later. More details will be posted on the recruiting section of the Honda website in April.

Updated Toyota Statement Regarding Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan
NEW YORK, NY (March 14, 2011; Posted at 8:45 AM EDT) - We continue to place priority on supporting the relief efforts in the regions affected and ensuring that our team members, the employees at subsidiary vehicle manufacturers and at our suppliers-and all their respective family members-are safe.

To that end, we are halting production at all plants in Japan (including subsidiary vehicle manufacturers) from March 14 through March 16.

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Previous Updates:

NEW YORK, NY (March 13, 2011) - Toyota's associates and team members in North America extend our heartfelt sympathy and deepest condolences to the people of Japan, our colleagues and their families.

Our utmost concern has been the safety of all Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) team members and team members at our partner companies in the Tohoku region.

TMC has established a company-wide emergency task force to continually assess the situation and take initial measures.

There have been no reported injuries at Toyota operations, including the Tokyo head office, the Higashifuji facility, Tochigi office, Yamanashi office, Toyota Motor Tohoku facilities and at TMC subsidiary vehicle manufacturers.

While TMC plants were able to restart production on 3/11, plants that stopped production are Toyota subsidiary plants that produce parts and vehicles, including:

* Toyota Motor Hokkaido Plant
* Toyota Motor Tohoku Plant
* Central Motor Corporation Miyagi Plant, which also produces the Yaris model.
* Kanto Auto Works Iwate Plant, which also produces the Scion xB and Scion xD.

Employees at these facilities were evacuated to safe areas.

We are now conducting a detailed survey of each plant to determine the extent of any damage. We are also currently assessing the situation at our suppliers, dealers and the impact on North American import vehicles.

As we are committed to ensuring the safety of our team members and their families, Toyota has decided to suspend production at all TMC plants, as well as all subsidiary vehicle-manufacturing plants on Monday, March 14th.

Toyota's number one priority is to support our team members at TMC, our partner companies, suppliers and dealers through this situation. On behalf of the company globally, TMC is moving to donate 300 million yen (approximately $3.75 million) for relief and recovery efforts in communities affected by the Tohoku Earthquake and is also considering the provision of goods and services as needed.

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.


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  • 20 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Prius was one of the cars on my list to test drive, believe I will hold off for a while on this one and wait until things are back to normal.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why? The dealers still have them
      • 4 Years Ago
      Those are all Nissan/Infinity vehicles.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I believe you're correct, I can make out some 370Zs in that mess.

        That aside this is a terrible tragedy and I am hopeful for Japan's rescue efforts followed by recovery efforts. Good luck Japan!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This will certainly cause severe shortages of the more popular cars like the Fit, Prius etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't think the nissan plant was affected much, but an earthquake that large & that close can still do some serious damage.

      The real problem is that there are 10 nuclear reactors that were taken out which is close to 20% of Japan's electricity supply. Many of those reactors have been flooded with sea water in an effort to avoid meltdowns. This effectively destroys the reactor. They will never be restarted.

      They are currently using rolling blackouts to ration supply. Rebuilding their electricity production capacity could take years and until that happens car production may be limited in order to use the electricity for more important things.

      I think the best approach at this point is for them to refocus on rebuilding their country while also adding production capacity in other countries so they don't have all their eggs in one basket.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The production of cars of any type is relatively unimportant in a time like this, as Sebastian correctly notes. I have been in a tiny tremor prior to the 1989 Loma Priet Quake and it was profoundly disturbing. To scale that up to a 6.9 is hard to understand. A 9.0 quake...
      The thing that I am taking from this is, it could have been much, much worse! Japan has some of the strongest building codes in the world, they have tsunami levees that can stop or at least slow down 10 meter tsunamis. If Japan hadn't prepared for this the death toll would have been exponentially worse.
      I have seen pictures of American Marines and Naval helicopters bringing aid to the earthquake victims. I hope we lean forward on this one and give them every bit of aid we can deliver, give every bit of comfort. We don't have a better emissary than our military giving aid in times of disaster. It isn't their primary job, but it is one that they do better than just about anyone else in the world. And it leaves a memory of America for generations as the people who care enough and are capable enough, to project help across the world.
        • 4 Years Ago
        We don't always agree on points about cars, politics, etc., but damn you nailed it on this point. Those guys in camo really are some of our best ambassadors.
      • 4 Years Ago
      We still haven't figured out what those cars are? Really?
      • 4 Years Ago
      it'll probably only delay production a couple of days for nissan and others but they'll probably use it to justify months of delays.
        • 4 Years Ago
        greg, it doesn't sound like you are trying to understand. of course the shutdown of several nuclear reactors can mean loss of power in large regions. I'm not saying that nothing happened in japan and noone is affected. I wont answer you again if you don't try to understand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not saying they want to delay it (they might however) but I'm saying they might use the earthquake as an excuse for delays that have other reasons.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think you grasp the scope of the tragedy in Japan. Have a look: http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2011/03/japans-earthquake---the-aftermath/100023/
        • 4 Years Ago
        nicholas, I don't think you appreciate how large japan is.
        yes there is total devastation in some areas but it does appear to be highly confined areas. it is a failure in the media coverage (that I have seen) to not offer an overview of the percentage of japan destroyed. my impression is that it is small.
        obviously it's a mess and maybe 10000 killed but I think that if you painted a map of japan with areas that are either wiped out or severely damaged it would not look so dramatic.

        locally in certain areas it's a bitch, no doubt. dramatically the wooden house cities. but I try to maintain the big picture and not indulge emotional pornography.
        people die on those numbers every day from malaria and aids. it's just not as good TV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Greg, uncertainty doesn't mean you can't do useful inference. or I can.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, I prefer to say that I am not sure on the extent of the damages. Rather than simply feeling like the damage is small or large. Anything else to me seems to be rationalizing. Wouldn't you agree that this is a rational way to look at the situation?

        I can say that there was damage to some infrastructure including some nuclear reactors which will affect a larger region than just the core disaster area and have a long lasting impact on the region. In the end, I can only pray for the victims of the tragedy and hope for the best.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan, fair enough. I do not wish to create enemies. I think you are trying to point out that media profits on disasters and I have a hard time arguing with that. So, I hope I understand you correctly.

        It just appears that, in an attempt to make your point, you felt the need to initially trivialize the damage in Japan. You've already admitted so much by backing off and saying that the nuclear reactor issue reaches further than the point of the disaster.

        Japan is big, no doubt, and the directly effected area is probably small in comparison. But, something as small as a heart can seize and take down a 200lb man. It really comes down to how everything is connected. I take it neither one of us lives in Japan (at least not me) so it is difficult for us to understand the full impact of the disaster. I hope you understand.
        • 4 Years Ago
        As usual, Dan is being an ass-hat.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dan,

        OK. What do you infer from the news of the nuclear reactors? Does that damage extend beyond the immediate source of the damage?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I guess I'm ignorant. Why would they want to delay production for months?
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