18 April 2011 17:23 [Source: ICIS news]
By Tanzeel Akhtar
LONDON (ICIS)--The European automotive industry is starting to feel the effects of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, as several car makers struggle for parts and supplies, forcing them to reduce production.
Demand for nylon 6,6, which is used for engineering plastics in automotives, fell by up to 30% following the 11 March earthquake and tsunami.
However, some manufacturers, such as
“BASF is carefully monitoring the situation at its customers' and suppliers' sites worldwide. At the moment, it is still too early to determine whether there will be any financial impact on BASF,” spokesperson Julia Buchner said.
“However, we do not expect that the disaster in
The company acknowledged the possibility of a “secondary impact” on global downstream industries, such as electronics and automotive, saying: “It’s still too early to quantify what impacts these secondary factors may have on our business.”
Short working weeks for several manufacturers have been announced for European plants affected by the earthquake, as
Vehicle production from 10 May to 3 June “will proceed at approximately 50% of normal”, Toyota said.
It is estimated that the company will lose 40% of its global production in the second quarter.
There are still serious problems posed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which has led to power shortages in Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), which supplies around one-third of
The recovery period will depend on each individual company's level of damage, said Kiyokazu Murata, general manager at the Japan Chemical Industry Association.
But the longer-term impact of the disaster still remains unclear.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) said it was too early to say how the industry will be affected, while the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that despite three Japanese car manufacturers making announcements about how their facilities have been affected, there has been nothing from the other companies.
The SMMT said that it is currently difficult for manufacturers to tell what the impact will be on their businesses as they do not know how long it will take for Japanese producers to start up again and how long it will take to get new products to the car manufacturers that need it.
“There is some apprehension among [the car manufacturers in the UK]. They certainly don’t think they are unaffected but as yet they have not reported any immediate issues to us,” said Nikki Rooke, spokesperson for the SMMT.
“All of them do source something from Japan and at the moment they are using up the components that were effectively shipped just before [the earthquake and tsunami] happened, and then they are looking what they can source from other European suppliers,” Rooke added.
The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) said any negative impact would be modest.
Cefic’s chief economist, Moncef Hadhri, said: “For much of 2011, exports should soften but in the second half should begin picking up and strengthen into 2012 as rebuilding takes place.”
Franco Capaldo contributed to this article
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