Japanese Shortages Hit Buyers

Japan Shortages Hit Car, Gadget Buyers

Deal of the Day by Kelli B. Grant (Author Archive)
Published April 28, 2011 for the Wall Street Journal – Smart Money
 
smcarfactory Six weeks after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most factories are back in operation. But new numbers show how even the brief disruption will keep prices high on autos and electronics through the summer.

Vehicles and electronics make up 37.5% of Japan’s exports – and account for nearly half of Japanese products the U.S. imports. Japanese exports declined a little more than 2% in March, more than twice what analysts expected, and even that seemingly-small drop has a deep impact on American imports. The U.S. imported 27% fewer cars, 15% fewer computers, and 46% fewer Mp3 players, speakers and other audio equipment last month, according to data from the Japanese ministry of finance.

Would-be car buyers are the most likely to notice higher prices – if they can find the model they’re looking for at all, says Jesse Toprak, the vice president of industry trends and analysis at TrueCar.com . Factories are still struggling to simply get parts and finished cars off the assembly line. Toyota, Lexus and Honda have said plants in Japan and the U.S. are working at 50% capacity at best, and GM has said it will close more U.S. plants temporarily, as it deals with short supply of parts. “Certainly at some point it will impact consumers,” says a Honda spokeswoman. “We’re still figuring things out.” (Toyota and GM did not respond to requests for comment.)

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One Response to “Japanese Shortages Hit Buyers”
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