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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.