Factories operated in China by Japan's three largest automakers were forced to stop operations temporarily amid a record-breaking cold wave sweeping central and southern China.

Bad weather affected plants run by Toyota, Nissan and Honda, Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported on its website.

Industry officials told the paper Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, typically enjoys mild weather but heavy snow and icy roads delayed the arrival of components. The severe weather also disrupted shipments of finished vehicles and materials destined for parts makers, they added.

According to the report, Nissan's joint venture factory in the Huadu district had been shut since Monday - the 360,000-unit factory has had trouble getting parts since about 10 days ago. It procures parts from companies in Hubei province to the north and elsewhere. Roads from those regions have been paralysed due to heavy snow and ice while airports have also been closed.

Nissan officials told the Asahi Shimbun the factory was expected to resume operations today (1 February).

Another Nissan joint venture factory in Xiangfan, Hubei province, had also suspended operations since Monday but was expected to resume operations on Friday, officials told the paper.

A Toyota joint venture factory in Guangzhou's Nansha district closed on Tuesday due to lack of parts from companies in and around Shanghai. The factory, with an annual production capacity of 200,000 vehicles, resumed operations on Wednesday, the report said.

A second Toyota factory in Tianjin suspended operations on Wednesday and Toyota officials were unclear whether it would re-open today.

Meanwhile, a Honda joint venture temporarily closed its second factory in Guangzhou's Zengcheng district on Tuesday, but reopened Wednesday. The company's total annual production capacity is 360,000 cars, the Asahi Shimbun said.

Television news reports this week have shown train stations and airports jam-packed with travellers prevented from getting home for the Chinese New Year holiday - senior politicians even appeared at major choke points in an effort to keep people calm.

The reports said the snow storms in some areas were the worst in 50 years.