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85May 2012: Too Good To Be True Edition

Toyota and Honda Outperform Against Backdrop of Earthquake-Related Shortages

20Japanese tsunami led to 3-6% higher transaction prices for certain cars

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan wreaked havoc on the automotive supply chain. Toyota, Honda and Nissan lost many thousands of units to the natural disaster, which meant that car buyers here in the U.S. sometimes had a difficult time finding and buying certain vehicles. We know how these disruptions hurt sales, but a study conducted by ALG shows that prices were also shifted because of the shortage of key vehicles.

53Nissan: batteries in the Leaf are tough, even after earthquake beating

Nissan representatives have long been proud of the durability of the air-cooled, 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that stores energy in the Leaf. Given the recent troubles that the liquid-cooled pack in the Chevy Volt has given GM, it's perhaps not surprising that Nissan wants to reassure – carefully – the public that it still believes the Leaf pack is safe.

24Google Street View documents Japan tsunami devastation

The online news cycle moves at a blistering pace. It's easy to forget that, while the story of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that occurred last March may move from the front page, individuals are still struggling to cope with the widespread devastation on the island.

106New dashcam footage recovered of Japanese tsunami from wrecked car

We've seen some terrifying footage from the tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan in March this year, but few manage to capture the full-on terror of the situation like the clip after the jump. The video was taken by a dash camera mounted on a man's vehicle as the tidal waters surged onto the roadway. Individuals abandon their vehicles, desperately running from the inescapable sea swell, and in moments, debris, cars and people are all helplessly swept up together as the water pushes forward.

171Honda says 2012 Civic inventory is "virtually zero" due to natural disasters

Honda would love nothing more than to sell a boatload of Civic sedans and coupes. Problem is, there just aren't enough of them to go around. Speaking to Inside Line, Chuck Schifsky, an American Honda Motor Co. spokesman, said:

15Following devastating earthquake, Elon Musk helping Fukushima go solar

In the last few months, Japan's Fukushima Prefecture has suffered through an enormous earthquake, devastating tsunami, and the frightening meltdown of multiple nuclear reactors. Not exactly the best set of circumstances. Though local and national officials have been working to restore services and and infrastructure, it's understandable that prefecture communities are still suffering from the damage caused this triptych of disaster.

13Google Street View cars helping to rebuild quake-ravaged Japan

Upon their initial arrival in Japan, privacy concerns led many citizens to view Google's Street View cars with great skepticism. PCWorld reports, however, that in the wake of the March, 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami, that mentality is fading.

13Suzuki's emergency quake action plan? Moving

Japanese automakers are continuing to evaluate their strategies for coping with natural disasters after this year's earthquake and tsunami, and for Suzuki, that apparently means packing up shop and moving to higher ground. According to Automotive News, the manufacturer is investing around $494 million to move its factories and research center away from the coastal city of Hamamatsu. The report notes that scientists estimate that there's an 80 percent chance that an 8.0-magnitude earthquake will

31Japan Inc. using deals, incentives to keep hard-fought lease customers from defecting

Japanese automakers are turning to new lease programs in an effort to lock down buyers who may stray to other automakers due to a lower-than-average supply of popular models. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are still in the process of restoring production to pre-earthquake levels, and as a result, buyers may not find the exact model they are looking for on dealer lots. Honda has authorized its dealers to extend current lease customers' arrangements by up to six months. Additionally, the company is offe

10Toyota says NA production to recover by September, earlier than expected

Toyota has announced that it expects its North American production to reach 100 percent capacity as early as September – far ahead of original post-quake estimates. So far, eight of the company's 12 models built in North America are back to 100 percent capacity, and total production is hoped to improve by as much as 80 percent by August. In an official press release, Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president and general manager, says that the progress is thanks to the hard work of individu

4Nissan to reinforce Japanese plants in defense of earthquakes

The March 11 earthquake in Japan left the country's auto industry with a broken supply chain and a few serious plant problems. Bloomberg reports that Nissan is looking to strengthen some key plants in an effort to minimize harm from any future quakes, starting with the heavily damaged Iwaki engine plant in the Fukushima prefecture.

8How GM avoided its own disaster after Japanese quake

While Toyota has been one of the automakers hardest hit by the tragic Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters in March of this year, nearly every auto company on the planet felt its impact. Thanks to a global, tight-laced network of interconnected suppliers, manufacturers were left scrambling to make up gaps in the parts chain when Japan's manufacturing mechanism ground to a halt. As it turns out, General Motors took on the challenge of making sure as many of its plants stayed operati

11Quake damaged paint plant comes back online in Japan

The March 11 earthquake and resultant tsunami in Japan rocked the country's automotive supply chain, leaving many suppliers with damaged factories and unreliable power. One nearly immediate impact was that automakers like Ford, Toyota and Chrysler could no longer offer colors like red or black.

19Lexus boss Templin says brand to lose luxury sales crown over Japan quake

Lexus has been the king of luxury car sales in the U.S. for over a decade, but Toyota's high-end brand will likely lose its crown in 2011, due at least in part to the March 11 earthquake in Japan.

4Renesas Electronics to restart automotive microchip production early

Japan's Renesas Electronics Corp. is moving up the restart date for automotive microchip production at its last inactive plant. The company says it should have operations back up and running at its Naka plant the week of June 15, a couple weeks earlier than its original estimate.

9Report: Toyota production back to normal by end of the year

The Detroit News is reporting that Toyota believes its production will be back on track by November or December of this year. The automaker saw global manufacturing slow after the tragic earthquake and tsunami activity of last month, though pre-disaster levels of production may return in Japan as soon as July. Meanwhile, shipping delays will cause manufacturing at the company's overseas plants to begin to normalize beginning in August. It will then take another two months for production to compl

7Toyota drastically cuts North American production through May

Toyota will continue its three-days-a-week schedule at North American plants for the rest of April and May, due to continued parts shortages as a result of the March 11 Japan earthquake. Toyota's original production suspension halted lines on Mondays and Fridays from April 15 to April 25, but will be extended to include April 26 to June 3.

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