Publié par: François Raymond Date: mardi 12 avril 2011
Japan disaster could have ripple effects on vehicle availability and prices here
By Steve Adams
The ripple effects of the Japan earthquake are disrupting the auto industry supply chain, and the aftershocks could be evident on car lots this spring.
Popular models could be in short supply, according to industry analysts and dealers. And prices of late-model used economy cars – already in heavy demand because of high gas prices – are starting to spike even further in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
“Given there’s so much demand, especially around fuel-efficient vehicles, if there isn’t a complete shortage, there might be fewer options for the consumer,” said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds.com.
About one-third of Japanese automakers’ U.S. car sales are derived from vehicles manufactured in Japan, Caldwell said. Most of these sales are clustered in a handful of models including the Toyota Corolla, Honda CR-V and Lexus RX 350.
Manufacturing by Japanese and U.S. automakers has been interrupted in the aftermath of the disaster in northeastern Japan. Production at many auto plants in Japan shut down, as did parts plants that supply Japanese and U.S. automakers.
So far, deliveries of new vehicles haven’t been disrupted, local auto dealers say. Most of their inventories were shipped prior to the earthquake, but as the 30-day anniversary of the earthquake approaches, ripples are beginning to reach the U.S.
“We have the cars now, but in a month or more we may be nearly out,” said Jeff Morrill, owner of Planet Subaru in Hanover. “It could be months before we have the volumes again.”
Subaru said it was resuming production of its Forester SUV, Legacy and Impreza models in Japan on Thursday.
In Japan, automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda have suffered lost production of approximately 300,000 vehicles since the quake.
Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer, has been hit the hardest. Production has declined in Japan by 200,000 vehicles as 16 of 18 of its plants in that country were knocked off-line, including those that manufacture the popular Prius hybrid.
“(Toyota) told us about the Prius being the potential problem in the next few months,” said John Sullivan, owner of Sullivan Brothers Auto Mall in Kingston.
Periodic power outages, shortage of parts and damage to road systems have disrupted the intricate automotive supply chain. The crisis also has exposed a weakness in the acclaimed “just-in-time” supply chain method pioneered by Toyota in the 1990s and subsequently adopted widely throughout the industry.
The technique minimizes the length of time parts spend in warehouses and uses a small number of suppliers, but is vulnerable in a major catastrophe because of the minimal back-up options.
“The Japanese automakers pioneered it, and it spread to the rest of the industry,” Planet Subaru’s Morrill said. “You can’t design your supply chain to anticipate this kind of event.”
Daniel Quirk, owner of Braintree-based Quirk Automotive Group, predicted that most Japanese models will be in short supply this summer. Quirk, who uses the former Fore River Shipyard in Quincy for storage, has 700 Mazdas in stock, which should last for four to six months.
While Japanese automakers are expected to feel the brunt of the crisis, shortages of parts from Japan have disrupted manufacturing at U.S. auto plants.
In the last two weeks, Ford and General Motors have shut down truck plants in the U.S. because of a shortage of Japanese parts, while Honda scaled back production at factories in Ohio that make the Accord, CR-V and Acura TL.
Japanese models manufactured in the U.S. also have been affected. Subaru reduced shifts at its Lafayette, Ind. plant this week because of a parts shortage.
Toyota has warned dealers of potential downturns in deliveries in May, particularly for the Prius hybrid, Sullivan said.
“That, in combination with rising gas prices, is going to make that car a very hot commodity,” Sullivan said.
Charles Tufankjian, owner of Toyota of Braintree, said the dealership has close to 1,000 new cars and hasn’t had any trouble getting more so far.
“We are still getting allocated cars that are in the pipeline,” he said. “Maybe we might feel a pinch in June, but right now as we speak, we have no problem.”
Prices of late-model economy cars have already risen as gasoline prices have jumped by more than a $1 a gallon in the past year. Delays in new car deliveries would accelerate that trend.
Prices of year-old Subaru Foresters and Imprezas have risen $1,000 to $2,000 at auto auctions in recent weeks, Morrill said.
Caldwell, the Edmunds.com analyst, said used car prices are due to climb even more if gas prices don’t decline.
“Whenever there’s a gas crunch, people start to think about what they drive,” she said. “You’ll see some changes in the used car prices, particularly for the cheap and efficient models. Consumers shouldn’t assume that used car prices are always the better bet.”
Steve Adams may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://www.patriotledger.com/archive/x719609977/Japan-disaster-may-have-aftershocks-for-auto-prices#ixzz1JDVAqjfK
Pas encore de commentaires.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.
Printed from the page: http://subarucar.net/japan-disaster-may-have-aftershocks-for-auto-prices-read-more-httpwww-patriotledger-comarchivex719609977japan-disaster-may-have-aftershocks-for-auto-pricesixzz1jdv2o5fy