Report: Japanese auto stocks battered as Nikkei plunges post quake *UPDATE

A 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated much of Japan, with staggering death-tolls and estimates of $100 billion in property damage. As one might expect, Japan's auto industry has been and will be heavily affected by the nationwide disaster. Power outages have brought plants to a halt, and the Nikkei, Japan's stock market, has taken notice.

Japan's major automakers have taken substantial losses in the aftermath of the quake, with most manufacturers faring worse than the market's overall drop of 6.2 percent. Mitsubishi had the roughest go of all automakers with a nine percent decline, followed by Isuzu at 8.9 percent, Nissan (8.5 percent), Toyota (7.2 percent) and Honda 3.8 percent). But while automaker stocks took a major hit, construction companies are on the rise, led by Kajima Corp., up 37.2 percent.

While the Japanese auto industry took a beating on the stock market Monday, the real life and death struggles remain a much larger issue. If you're interested in donating to help those affected by the disaster, click here.

*UPDATE: Automotive News reports that Toyota will lose about 40,000 vehicles' worth of production as the company's assembly and parts plants will remain closed at least through Wednesday. All of Honda's plants will also stay closed through at least Sunday, March 20, losing some 16,600 units – including 2,500 Fit, Insight, and Acura RL models bound for the U.S.

The scope of the effect of the quake and tsunami has yet to be tallied on Japan's car industry, as automakers are still trying to figure out the status of their supply chain. AN reports that Honda alone has 113 suppliers located in quake zones, and they have not yet been able to reach 44 of them.

Even Stateside production of cars and trucks may be affected by the natural disaster, as many U.S. plants depend on Japanese factories to supply them with various components.

[Sources: Automotive News – sub. req., The Canadian Press,| Image: Noboru Hashimoto/AFP/Getty]

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