April 27, 2011

Japan Factories Gear Up for Recovery

Yokohama -April 27- (NMC) At Nissan factories across Japan, production is increasing as the automaker and country recover further.

After the tragic events of March 11, Nissan's car output in Japan fell 52.4 percent and its exports 12.5 percent during the month, although all factories are now back on line.

Compared to Toyota and Honda whose March output each fell about 62 percent, Nissan's decline was not as great, but all Japanese automakers have been hit by limited parts access.

In Tochigi, the largest of the three main assembly plants where Nissan makes GT-Rs, Infiniti Ms and other models, factory lights are back on and production is gearing up.

The plant, located about 100 km, or 62 miles, north of Tokyo, began making cars in 1971, and produces many top sports and luxury vehicles.

Hiromi Takaoka, General Manager at Nissan Tochigi Plant said, "Everything is fixed and ready now. It is just an issue of parts supply that is holding us back from full production. If everything is prepared, we are ready to resume production to 100 percent or even more. Through this earthquake, we have learned that everything is possible, if we join our forces together. Nothing is impossible, and we won't let this earthquake beat us."

Closer to the company's Yokohama headquarters is the Oppama plant, where more than 3,000 staff make up to 480,000 cars a year, including the zero-emission NISSAN Leaf.

On the western Japanese island of Kyushu, some 3,600 staff make Serenas, Muranos and other vehicles.

Yukinobu Kodama, General Manager at Nissan Kyushu Plant said, "In Kyushu there was no direct damage to our facility. However, production was suspended because the parts supply was halted. Operations resumed April 13. We'll do our utmost to be back on full production, so that we can deliver the highest quality cars to those customers waiting all over the world"

Despite the earthquake and tsunami, global Nissan production still hit an all-time high in the last business year, rising 24.5 percent to 4.21 million units.

Japanese output alone rose 4.6 percent to hit 1.07 million cars, as demand for the Juke, Rogue and Infiniti QX56 took off.

As recovery takes hold in coming months, all Japan staff will be essential to meet demand, particualrly from the quake-sticken Tohoku region in Japan.

Estimates are that up to 10 percent of cars in prefectures such as Miyagi have been damaged or destroyed in the wake of the disaster, raising the need for new production ahead.