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All Sides with Ann Fisher

New Challenges for Japanese Automakers

Honda is Ohio’s largest manufacturer and one of the state’s largest employers. It and its workers face an uncertain spring because of the earthquake and tsunami that have devastated Japan. Because some crucial suppliers of Honda parts have been damaged by the disaster, Honda’s assembly plants have cut production. Honda employees in Marysville and East Liberty are working half shifts. Honda has also cut production in other countries. Toyota, Subaru, and other Japanese automakers have also cut production. And because Japanese parts are not exclusive to Japanese care, some American automakers may feel the effects. This affects plant workers, local companies that supply the plants, and local dealers. Of course, this is a once in a lifetime natural disaster, but the shortage of parts is also a result of just –in—time delivery, the hyper-efficient inventory control system that gets parts to the plant just as they are needed. This system helps save money, but it makes manufacturers immediately vulnerable to disruptions.


  • Steve Lindsay (Owner, Lindsay Acura and Honda)
  • Peter Ward (Professor, Ohio State University Fisher College of Business Management)
  • Kim Hill (Director, Center for Automotive Research Sustainability & Economic Development Research)

Read More:

  • Quake to force shutdown of all US Toyota plants (CBS News)
  • Honda halves UK car production as tsunami halts parts supply from Japan (The Guardian)
  • Japan carmakers’ supply woes hit EU and US (Financial Times)