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Japanese Automakers Show Their Fighting Spirit

This year has been rough for Japanese automakers, fraught with the challenges of natural disasters in Japan and Thailand as well as economic adversity in the form of the strong yen.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami left automakers grappling with damaged factories in northeast Japan and squeezed production capabilities at home and overseas as the supply of key parts ran dry.

At the worst point, March and April saw auto vehicles production in Japan down more than two-thirds compared with a year earlier.

Nissan won plaudits for a speedy recovery and was the first Japanese automaker to resume normal production levels after the disaster. Still, alongside rivals Toyota and Honda, Nissan was soon hit by flooding in Thailand this fall.

Production at its Samut Prakan plant halted, delaying the manufacturing of tens of thousands of cars. Nissan said on November 14 that output partially resumed.

If that weren’t enough, the Japanese yen is trading close to record post-World War II highs, reducing the competitiveness of the nation’s exports.

Speaking at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toshiyuki Shiga, chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and Nissan’s chief operating officer, said automakers are doing all they can to face the challenges head on.

Nissan COO Toshiyuki Shiga at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show

See for yourself at the Tokyo show, where all 14 Japanese auto manufacturers are showcasing with their latest designs and technology.

JAMA, which sponsors the event, says the the motor show highlights the resilience of Japanese manufacturing and its fighting spirit.

COO Shiga taking a seat in the Nissan LEAF Nismo RC

As the Japanese would say, “Gambare!”


Camille Lim

Producer, Nissan Global Media Center

Management, Motor Shows

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