Stalled car production expected to pick up

On June 5, 2009 a factory worker assembles Prius hybrid vehicles along the assembly line at Toyota Motors' Tsutsumi factory in Toyota, Aichi prefecture.

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Two of Japan's biggest car makers will begin production again in the next couple of weeks. If only for some of them at half capacity. Toyota and Nissan were shut down because of power and parts shortages from last month's earthquake and tsunami.

The BBC's Rachel Harvey joins us from Tokyo. Hi Rachel.

RACHEL HARVEY: Hello there.

CHIOTAKIS: What's this going to mean for Toyota and Nissan and the Japanese economy?

HARVEY: Well, short term it's going to be good news. But it is only limited. Toyota said it's going to restart production at its domestic plants, but only for nine days -- from April 18th to April 27th. Then, it doesn't know after that point. Same thing for Nissan. It said it's going to resume domestic production but at half capacity from April the 11th. But Nissan is saying explicitly, "We don't know how long we're going to be able to keep this going because of the acute shortage of component parts."

CHIOTAKIS: So, a lot of uncertainty in the longer term. But what does it mean Rachel for the global supply chain?

HARVEY: Well it means at least, it's an indication that there are some parts, but it's also an indication that the supply of those parts is still limited. As long as there's a shortage of power in Japan, as long as those factories are still out of action in the north east, then there is going to be a problem with parts. There just simply aren't enough to go around for everyone.

CHIOTAKIS: The BBC's Rachel Harvey in Tokyo. Rachel, thank you.

HARVEY: Thank you very much.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...