TOKYO -- Japan’s auto industry and government are setting up a joint council for automakers and suppliers as they face disruption due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The group will share information and offer any necessary financing and policy support if the situation worsens, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a statement Thursday. The agency is working with the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and Japan Auto Parts Industries Association.
The group will monitor developments and coordinate communication, and work with the Japanese government on measures to ensure the smooth flow of components through supply chains, they said in the statement.
Nissan closed part of its production line in Kyushu, southwest Japan, on Feb. 14 and 17, and will also halt output on Feb. 24. Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota have halted some operations in China, although they haven’t yet had to do so in Japan due to parts shortages.
The coronavirus outbreak shuttered factories in China’s Hubei province and disrupted the supply of everything from transmissions to steering systems. The effect is being seen across the global auto industry.
Earlier this month, Hyundai and Renault suspended production in Korea, and Fiat suspended production of the 500L in Serbia, because of component shortages. Jaguar Land Rover has flown Chinese parts in suitcases to Britain to maintain production. Nissan said it may face stoppages at plants in Europe and the U.S.
Hubei continues to be locked down, particularly in Wuhan, where the virus was first detected. The municipal government announced Feb. 13 that all factories in Hubei would be shut until at least Feb. 20. The province is home to Nissan’s Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor, making the Japanese carmaker more vulnerable to the disruptions than most others.