Japan sets up task force to deal with coronavirus impact on automakers
Japan’s auto industry and government are setting up a joint council for carmakers and auto parts suppliers as they face disruption due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The group will share information and offer any necessary financing and policy support if the situation worsens, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement Thursday. The agency is working with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and Japan Auto Parts Industries Association.
The impact of the outbreak, which shuttered factories in China’s Hubei province and disrupted the supply of everything from transmissions to steering systems, is being seen across the global auto industry. Earlier this month, Hyundai Motor Co. became the first global carmaker to halt production outside China because of component shortages, while Nissan Motor Co. may also face further stoppages if the shutdown continues.
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The group will monitor developments and coordinate communication, and work with the Japanese government on measures to ensure the smooth flow of components through supply chains, they said in the statement. Nissan closed part of its production line in Kyushu, southwest Japan, on Feb. 14 and 17, and will also halt output on the 24th.
Hubei continues to be locked down, particularly in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected. The municipal government announced Feb. 13 that all factories in Hubei would be shut until at least Feb. 20. The province is home to Nissan’s Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor, making the Japanese carmaker more vulnerable to the disruptions than most others.
Honda Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. have halted some operations in China, although they haven’t yet had to do so in Japan due to parts shortages.