Thai floods hit Japan carmaker output, delay Sony launches

Oct 20, 2011

TOKYO, Oct 20 (Reuters) – Thai flooding has slashed Japanese automakers’ output by about 6,000 units a day and forced Sony Corp to delay the launches of some cameras and lens kits, the electronics company and a car industry body said on Thursday.

The natural disaster, now threatening Bangkok, has echoes of the supply chain disruption caused by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and has affected a raft of Japanese firms.


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Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga, who is also chief operating officer for Nissan Motor Co , told reporters he could not say when production would be restored at Japanese plants in Thailand.

The floods are expected to cause Thailand’s auto sector, the biggest in Southeast Asia, to miss its output target of 1.8 million units this year, an executive at Honda Motor Co said earlier this week.

Separately, Sony, the world’s second-largest maker of digital cameras after Canon Inc , said the global launch of its NEX-7 mirrorless interchangeable lens camera would be delayed indefinitely from the previous date of Nov. 11, while the Japanese launch of the Alpha 65 model would also be delayed.

Sony’s Thai camera factory, one of three plants it has in the country, is flooded, while production has been stopped at its Thai semiconductor plant due to supply shortages, the company said.

Sony has decided to produce Cybershot compact cameras at other factories in Japan and China and is considering switching Alpha 65 production to a car audio plant in Thailand, which is currently operating as normal, a spokesman said.

Some of the flood-hit manufacturers at five industrial estates in Thailand’s central Ayutthaya province could be up and running again from the middle of December, a local official said on Wednesday.

Honda said earlier it expects to resume operations at its plant in the Rojana industrial estate a month after floodwater is drained from the complex, which was forced to shut on Oct. 6.

Flooding in the north, northeast and centre of the country has killed over 300 people since July and devastated the low-lying Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Sawan provinces north of Bangkok.