Two of Japan’s top automakers are trying to accelerate their efforts to resume full production, adding to hopes that a recovery from Japan’s biggest earthquake was well on its way as the supply bottleneck eases.
Nissan Motor chief executive Carlos Ghosn said on Tuesday employees were working hard to restore production at Japan’s No.2 automaker to full levels before an October target, after defying the odds with a speedy recovery at an engine plant that was badly damaged by the March 11 earthquake.
“I can tell you that every single Nissan employee is trying to (prove) me wrong when I say October. This is absolutely a sense of motivation from everybody to say we’re going to make it happen before October,” Ghosn said at the Iwaki engine plant, about 60 km from Tokyo Electric Power’s crippled nuclear power station. “But reasonably, I don’t think it’s going to be before October,” he added.
The 560,000-units-a-year Iwaki factory, which builds 2.5 to 3.7-litre engines for the Fuga, Murano, Infiniti M, and other models, marked its return to full production capacity on Tuesday. Honda Motor joined Nissan on Tuesday in saying the recovery of its parts supply is gathering pace.
“We want to move up our schedule for returning to normal, but that depends on the supply of parts,” Honda’s chief financial officer, Fumihiko Ike, told a small group of reporters. “But we are seeing recovery speed up in those supplies.”