All Nissan Americas employees in Japan are accounted for following the earthquake and tsunami and the unit does not expect any “near-term impact on sales or vehicle availability”, it said in a status update statement on Wednesday (16 April).

Employees travelling in Japan are scheduled to return no later than 19 March and the unit has now “confirmed the safety of all expat employees and their families in Japan and [continues] to stay in close contact with these individuals,” it said, adding that all business travel to Japan has been suspended.

“Nissan is aware that a number of national governments have recommended their citizens consider leaving the greater Tokyo area or Japan entirely. Nissan is working with each Americas employee regarding their own personal choices and will fully support their decision to stay or leave, the statement said.

Nissan Americas has pledged US$1m (JPY80m) to the American Red Cross in earthquake/tsunami relief efforts support for the country. This contribution will be supported by all five of Nissan Americas main markets (US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Latin America.)

It is making an immediate $500,000 (JPY40m) cash donation to the American Red Cross and will match, dollar for dollar, total contributions raised by online visitors (employees, retirees, dealers, suppliers and customers) up to $500,000.

“Recovery in Japan will be very difficult and will take some time to accomplish after a disaster of this magnitude,” said chairman Carlos Tavares. “Nissan wants to do our part to immediately help the citizens of Japan during their time of critical need.”

Including the $1m, Nissan Motor’s global contributions are expected to reach over $3.75m (JPY400m) in cash and in-kind contributions. This includes global and regional corporate donations, employee gift matching and the provision of 50 vehicles to support aid agencies in affected areas.

Plant status

“All Nissan Americas manufacturing facilities remain operational and will continue to operate on a planned production schedule until further notice,” the statement said.

“Although all plants in Japan, except for the Iwaki engine plant, have been able to repair some damaged facilities and/or equipment, it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers.

“As for the Iwaki engine plant, with aftershocks still heavily impacting the region, restoration activities are expected to take longer than at other plants.”

Nissan’s Oppama, Tochigi, Yokohama and Nissan Shatai plants are suspending operations until Sunday, 20 March with Kyushu and Nissan Shatai Kyushu (in the south of Japan where Toyota also has a plant – ed) are resuming production on Thursday, 17 March and Friday, 18 March while inventory of supplies lasts. However, operations after Saturday, 19 March are yet to be decided.

Nissan’s JATCO’s Fuji Plant and Fujinomiya Plant, which manufactures transmissions, have reported partial damage to its buildings and equipment. Operations have been suspended and damage is currently being assessed.

Vehicle stock/sales impact

Nearly 70% of the vehicles Nissan Americas sells in the region are produced in the region and manufacturing operations are continuing to operate on a normal schedule.

“Due to an approximately 50 days’ supply of vehicle stock on the ground in the region or already in transit from Japanese ports, Nissan Americas does not anticipate any near-term impact on sales or vehicle availability,” the statement said.

“Approximately 1,300 Infiniti vehicles were damaged in port in Japan due to the earthquake/tsunami, which equates to less than a few days’ supply for the brand. Historically, Infiniti keeps an approximately 20,000-unit inventory in the US, so this unit loss is expected to be made up over the next several months.”

JAPAN: Toyota to lose 95,000 units as plants shut until 22 March “at least”