Prius production resumes, Honda further delays restarting plants



Japanese automaker news resulting from the March 11 earthquake is coming in fast and furious right now, so we've packaged the latest information in one convenient spot.

Toyota announced some good and bad news this week on the production front. The good news is that the company will resume limited production of the Prius, Lexus HS250h and CT 200h hybrids with all-new parts coming in. Eighteen other Toyota plants remain closed, however, through at least March 28, and the automaker has warned its assembly plants in North America that they could soon face parts shortages that interrupt production.

Honda has moved the restart date of its Japanese plants again from March 27 to April 3 or later. Among the vehicles affected are the Fit and CR-V. The company also says its research and development center will be closed for months due to extensive damage. Some of the work being done at the R&D facility has been moved to other Honda facilities in Japan.

Nissan restarted production in Japan on March 24, though the plants are using only existing parts stock with no new parts coming in. The company is studying whether its Tennessee engine plant could supply VQ V6 engines to Japan due to damages sustained at an engine plant in the quake zone. The automaker also lost 1,300 Infiniti models that were damaged at a Japanese port during the quake. CEO Carlos Ghosn claims 40 Japanese suppliers are still in trouble.

Mazda has been running some plants in Japan, though parts are starting to become scarce. The CX-7 and CX-9 are among the vehicles affected.

Subaru has postponed any production in Japan until at least March 28. In the U.S., the automaker has suspended overtime at its Indiana plant.

[Source: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Automotive News – sub. req. | Image: AP Photo/Koji Sasahara]