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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]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad for the update. My guess is at least a year to get most of this auto plant/supplier mess sorted out. If a plant is deemed unsafe to use because of the earthquake, they won't build parts/cars in it. That won't come back quickly.

      Now with radiated tap water in Tokyo, the industry, let alone the people, may have a new problem: radioactive cars and parts. I can easily see the near future where you go to get a Japanese car or parts and first check them with a geiger counter. Or, someone is selling OEM parts on Ebay for really low prices because they may be radioactive. Probably the Japanese will check for this and scrap anything radioactive and their insurance will pay for it. If not, that warm glow you get from low cost new parts in your hand may just BE from the parts themselves.
      • 4 Years Ago
      aaww. this just sucks for GM, in a way. GM globally outsold Toyota by at least 100K cars for the first two months of this year. If the sales pace continues through the rest of the year GM would have sold about half a million more cars in 2011 than toyota.

      If GM outsells toyota this year (which I have no doubt they would have acheived by their own merit earthquake or not) they will not get any credit for doing so.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What they forgot to mention is that these cars were already parked like this before the water. People love to text while driving in Japan.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Speaking of 1,300 Infiniti's... I wonder how insurance companies are dealing with all this in Japan. In times like these, can they pull through or are they just ruined? I hope they're able to help the people who have policies over there, but I could understand how the whole $100B in damage thing might make that difficult.

      Also, while we obviously follow the auto industry closely here at Autoblog, I can't help but think that automobiles may not be the most important thing for Japan right now. I imagine their focus is finding missing people, getting power back online and finding homes and healthcare for the hundreds of thousands/millions of people without homes.

      I hope the auto industry recovers, but I think it's more important that folks have a place to sleep at night.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I will toast Japan from my American brand car (soft drink, of course) and wish them well. They are a strong and proud people. They will persevere and be back in it with their A game in no time. Japan may not have a carnal in me, but they certainly have my admiration for how well they have coped with this horrendous disaster.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Damn spell correct. Carnal = CAR SALE
      • 4 Years Ago
      Massive earthquake and nuclear blast in Japan has hold the production of major automotive companies like Toyota , Honda . They have first see loss which is occurred then go rehabilitation of plant which may be destroyed in the earthquake then they will think about production and research of new models .
      • 4 Years Ago
      They might be faceing tough times as the D-3 has but of a different nature.
      I do feel sorry for them and the people of Japan.
      I have depised Toyota as kind of a backlash do to a golden pedestal people had put them on. Being a domestic car fan I really thought GM Ford, and Chrysler weren`t treated fairly at all. Times have flipped 180 deg in just two years time.
      Chrysler wasn`t that bad and Toyota wasn`t that good.
      I do wish the Japanese automakers well, the world is a better place with them.
      I`m not like some of my fellow country men who have said GM should fade away.
      I doubt not one Japanese person would ever say that about any of their automakers.
      The Dignity of the Japanese people is something we Americans need to learn from.
      This is the silver lining of this crissis as bad as it is.
        • 4 Years Ago
        My 180deg comment is meant as perception of Toyota quality not actual quality.
        I believe Toyota quality is good now as before. I don`t believe it was steller with out flaws as some have been led to believe.
        Hope they make trough ok.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Not: Half a decade does not a reputation make. Toyota's been building highly dependable cars since they launched in the US in 60s. It's why they're on top now, and why, despite all the negativity of the last two years, their cars still sit at the top of the sales charts (with old designs, no less).

        Ford/GM/Hyundai will need more than just a five years of higher quality to build the reputation.
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