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March 21, 2011updated 08 Apr 2021 8:08am

JAPAN ‘QUAKE: Nissan and OEM supplier Sony restarting factories

Consumer electronics and auto OEM supplier Sony and Nissan Motor are restarting some Japanese factories but computer chip maker Toshiba is still out of action, a media report on Monday said, noting that electric power outages continue to pose risks to production.

Consumer electronics and auto OEM supplier Sony and Nissan Motor are restarting some Japanese factories but computer chip maker Toshiba is still out of action, a media report on Monday said, noting that electric power outages continue to pose risks to production.

Sony, whose OEM supply deals include branded infotainment systems for Ford, told Reuters it would partially restart a lithium ion battery factory in Tochigi prefecture (where Honda has factories and an R&D centre) on Tuesday, leaving six plants, which make a range of devices from integrated circuit cards to Blu-ray discs, still closed.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motor, Japan’s second largest automaker, restarted limited operations at five plants in Japan on Monday, but vehicle production was only expected to start later in the week.

Nissan said in a statement: “As the delivery of parts will still take some time to be reestablished, our plants, except for the Iwaki engine plant, will be partially operational.” It added that it would take longer to get Iwaki restarted as aftershocks were still “heavily impacting the region” and infrastructure reestablishment was still continuing. “Restoration is expected to take longer than the other plants.”

The automaker said its Oppama, Tochigi, Kyushu, Yokohama and Nissan Shatai plants had resumed production on Monday (21 March, 2011) though limited to components for overseas manufacturing and aftermarket replacement parts (subject to availability of parts from suppliers).

“Vehicle production is planned to resume from 24 March while inventory of supplies lasts,” Nissan added.

It has asked Iwaki plant employees on ‘standby status’ to assist with local volunteer activities.

Nissan said it had also “started to support restoration activities” at suppliers, after requests from its vendors, and was “prepared to provide any further support as requested”.

Reuters noted that Nissan makes about 22% of its vehicles in Japan. Goldman Sachs has estimated the profit impact for stopping production to be about JPY2bn (US$24.8m) a day for the automaker.

Toshiba told Reuters output was still halted on Monday at a factory in Iwate prefecture making system LSI chips for microprocessors and image sensors. It has begun work to bring the factory back on line, but has no timeframe to resume output.

Toshiba said an assembly line at a plant in Japan making small liquid crystal displays for smartphones and other devices will be closed for a month to repair damaged machinery.

Sony is unsure when its plants will resume operations. Some of the plants’ output is supplied to other manufacturers, including customers overseas.

Renesas, the world’s fifth largest chipmaker, has halted operations at eight of its facilities and is also unsure when production will resume, the report said.

The company said it was unlikely to start some of its plants until the threat of power cuts, expected to last until the end of April, diminished. 

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