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Crisis In Japan Leaves Up To 200K Shoppers Available To Rival Makes

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On: Wed, May 18, 2011 at 2:48PM | By: Tim Healey

Crisis In Japan Leaves Up To 200K Shoppers Available To Rival Makes

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan that occurred in March are leaving customers who normally shop the Japanese up for grabs to rival automakers.

Up to 200,000 shoppers are in play, thanks to the production and supply problems caused by the natural disasters. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan stand to lose the most.

GM, Chrysler, Ford, and Hyundai stand to gain the most from the situation.

An estimated 1.66 million units have been lost to the disasters, and 341,000 of those units would have been sold in the States. Forty-two percent of those potential sales would have gone to buyers who are likely to stay with the brands they currently own.

That would leave 197,000 units, 80 percent of whose buyers would be loyalists to Toyota, Nissan, or Honda. Another 36,000 would choose from the other Japanese brands like Mazda, Suzuki, or Subaru.

If full Japanese production isn't back online by the fourth quarter of 2011, then the "up for grabs" number rises to 328,000, or 2.5 percentage points of market share.

With the economy improving and the automotive industry beginning to recover, these potential customers are ones that the Japanese automakers would hate to lose. Without diminishing the loss of life caused by the tragedies in Japan, from a pure business sense, the timing is undeniably pretty bad.

In addition to dealing with the personal challenges that employees based in Japan face due to the earthquake and tsunami, the Japanese automakers must now deal with the challenges of regaining the sales lost to the production and supply problems. Toyota is especially affected, due to the problems that it was already facing, thanks to the recall woes caused by unintended acceleration problems over the past year or so.

Honda faces challenges due to aging models, and Nissan isn't as big a player as the other two. So the lost sales will compound the challenges.

That doesn't mean that the Japanese automakers are in trouble. They've all survived tough challenges before. But this is one of the toughest ones in recent memory, and it is one that affects all of them.


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