As the devastating news of an earthquake and subsequent tsunami hitting Japan came across TV screens all over the world, so too did the images of the damage and catastrophe it had left behind. One of the scenes saw the new cars that were at the dock ready to be shipped overseas instead being dragged away by a strong and powerful wave. It soon became obvious that these terrible events weren’t just restricted to this one country, but they were going to affect the world, in more ways then one.
“Japanese cars make up approximately one third of the local new car market and any drop in supply could have a big impact on the local industry, which has this year predicted a new record of more than 1,050,000 new cars.” Drive.com.au
As many of the world’s largest car manufactures are based in Japan, a lot have been forced to close their doors for the time being. Those who haven’t are still affected by the closure and damage to roads, railways and ports, meaning materials can neither leave nor enter the factories.
Not only does Japan manufacture cars, but it sends parts to factories around the world, such as those in the USA and here in Australia. Just one missing part can halt a whole plants production. Hybrid batteries are sourced from Japan, which may cause upsets in production over the coming weeks and months. Tyres are another vital part produced in Japan, with the world’s largest tyre and rubber company, Bridgestone, having factories across the region.
It is estimated that around 30,000 Japanese cars are sold in Australia each month. It just goes to show how important Japan is to the automotive world.
I am not for a minute trying to compare the disrupt in the auto industry to the tragedy that the people in Japan are experiencing at the moment. I am merely pointing out how much the world’s automotive industry depends on this one country, and how when something as terrible as this occurs, it can throw everyone off course. Even those on the other side of the world.
So what does this mean for your fleet?
Delays in cars and car parts that come from Japan may result in a tight supply meaning that you have to wait longer than usual for your service, particularly if your service discovers a requirement for new parts. It’s important to remember that if you do experience some delays, you will not be the only one. In the bigger scheme of things, this is only a small issue compared to what the people of Japan are facing.
What do you think? Is the auto world maybe too reliant on certain countries?
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