2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

Japan's 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami continue to impact the nation's auto industry, as Automotive News is reporting that Toyota and Honda have again extended factory shutdown timelines. Toyota will apparently idle its 18 domestic plants through March 26, while Honda will keep factory doors closed at least until March 27. With plants shuttered, Toyota will have to make due without its hot-selling RAV4, Prius and Corolla, and Honda won't be able to import the Fit and CR-V stateside.

When Japan's largest automakers finally do start plants up again, there is a good chance production will only be temporary. Other Japanese automakers, including Mazda and Mitsubishi, are opening up plants on a temporary basis, but parts shortages ensure that the plants will quickly re-close. Many of the suppliers who feed parts to the automakers are still offline as a result of the natural disaster, so OEMs have no choice but to sit back and wait for the situation to improve.

So when will we start to notice shortages of Japanese autos here in the U.S.? Since autos from Toyota and Honda typically don't sit on dealer lots for very long, we're thinking we'll start to see this problem hit home in only a few more weeks.

Review: 2010 Toyota Prius
  • Review: 2010 Toyota Prius
  • Review: 2010 Toyota Prius

Photos copyright ©2009 Sam Abuelsamid / Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req.]

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