News / Economy

Japan Earthquake Causing Shortages in Car Parts, Electronics

Automobiles in a Honda dealer's showroom, Los Angeles, California
Automobiles in a Honda dealer's showroom, Los Angeles, California

Multimedia

Elizabeth Lee

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan are causing ripple effects throughout the world.  Many factories in Japan that make critical components in electronics and cars have temporarily stopped production, as the nation deals with the disaster and resulting nuclear crisis.  

From transportation, to communications, to entertainment, almost every aspect of modern life around the world may soon feel the impact of the earthquake in Japan.

"We've had many of these plants that manufacture key electronic components that have been damaged. Some of the plants have been damaged directly other plants have been hurt because they can't get electricity," said electronics supply chain analyst Dale Ford.

The nuclear crisis has caused rolling power blackouts.  Ford says the earthquake-damaged Japanese plants produce 25 percent of the world's silicon wafers.  They are used to make semiconductors that go in everyday electronics - from computers and cell phones to digital cameras and game consoles.  Even the anti-lock brake and transmission systems in cars require silicon wafers regardless of where the cars are made.

"We have automotive plants that are shutting down because they can't get an adequate supply of those parts that are needed of producing electronics for going into automobiles," Ford said.

Toyota and Honda in Japan and even a General Motors plant in the U.S. have experienced temporary shutdowns.

Andy Coyle, general manager of Honda of downtown Los Angeles says he anticipates cars and even car parts may soon be in short supply.

"Less supply will probably mean not maybe get the color of their first choice of they'll have to move quickly on it," he said.

Auto industry senior analyst Jessica Caldwell says so far, car prices have not been affected.

"Since the earthquake we haven't seen anything change because of what has happened," she said.  "That's not to say we won't see things in the future."

Caldwell says if the situation in Japan does not improve, consumers could start feeling the effects of the shortage in April.

Honda dealership general manager Andy Coyle says consumers may eventually have to pay more.

"The laws of supply and demand are in place and if there's a shortage or even a perceived shortage there may be some increase in the price or lessening of bargaining power," he said.

On the electronics side, analyst Dale Ford says while consumers may have to wait a bit longer to get a popular product, they may not necessarily be paying more.

"In the economic environment we're in, companies are going to be very reluctant to pass along these price increases to the consumer," he said.

Analysts say many electronic companies and automakers are now trying to find manufacturers in other countries, for the parts they need, but it will take anywhere from days to six months before the plants in Japan can operate at full capacity.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.