Mazda, Subaru prolong shutdown; Mitsubishi to restart - for now
15 March 2011
Mazda Motor Corp. and Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. have prolonged production shutdowns in Japan through Sunday following parts shortages triggered by the country’s devastating earthquake, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp. said it would go back to work - at least for now.
Mazda, whose base of operations is in far western Japan where Friday’s huge quake was barely felt, originally had said its two assembly plants would close through Wednesday.
Fuji Heavy, which also had planned shutdowns through Wednesday, extended them through Sunday, too.
Mitsubishi, with most of its factories in central Japan, kept all its assembly plants shuttered Monday and today. It had planned to reopen Wednesday and reassess after that.
But today Mitsubishi said it had secured enough parts to keep operating through Thursday. Plans after that, though, are uncertain, the company said.
Japan’s seven big automakers extended nationwide production shutdowns today following parts shortages, power outages and concerns about damaged export facilities.
Carmakers are extending the shutdowns - even at plants unaffected by Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake - partly to give workers time to regroup with families.
But the country’s supply chain has been disrupted, with automakers still unable to contact some parts makers in the quake zone days after the disaster.
Rolling power shutdowns throughout eastern Japan have been implemented by the local utility, Tokyo Electric Power Co., to save electricity. Downed nuclear power plants have punched a hole in the country’s power supply and are stirring growing concerns about meltdowns.