Home / Auto News / News article: Top 10 Automotive News Stories of 2011 - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Dec 28 2011, 9:15 AM

2. Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Easily one of the biggest news stories of the year (not just in the auto industry but overall), the Japanese earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc on one of the world’s largest auto industries, halting the manufacturing sector of major automakers including Toyota and Honda. The effects extended well beyond Japan’s shores, however, with the natural disasters showing the weakness of a global supply chain as factories in North America and across the world had to be temporarily closed over parts shortages. It wasn’t just the Japanese either, with companies like General Motors and Ford halting production on certain models due to missing components.

It took sixth months for production to fully resume, although considerable damage had been done. With a global economic downturn followed by floor matt related safety concerns, compounded by an aging product lineup, sales for Toyota struggled. Honda’s sales were also hampered, as supply failed to keep up with demand and dealers couldn’t get access to the cars they wanted.

A sign of the resilliance of the Japanese people, considering the devastation, it’s a miracle auto manufacturing was able to return to normal at all in 2011. And while the effects of the natural disaster continue to be cleaned up, the impact is also evident on the Japanese economy and the bottom line of automakers like Toyota. The world’s largest automaker by volume for three years running, Toyota is expected to slip to third in 2011.

  • Chris Van Auken

    First off, if GM (giant mess, God’s mistake, take your pick) is looking at the volt to rescue them, they are in worse trouble than we thought. The sales of the volt are dismal, and is selling them to government agencies mostly. And we know how efficiant governments are. It is not Pinto wrong. It is worse. Pinto’s could leak fuel which was a hazard no doubt. These things catch fire long after an accident. Talk about a time bomb. GM still owes the government most of the money they took. It is still owned by the federal government as far as I am concerned.

  • Steve

    Right,
    I know why don’t you just slate General Motors. Talk about taking the easy way out.
    GM are a world wide automaker, the Volt needs to be a success. Did you report on why the Volt supposedly catches fire? Did you ask someone at GM for an interview to put the questions to them?
    Why did you not try to put any positive input in your article at all?
    You would need to be a proper journalist to do that I would imagine.
    You owe it to your home auto industry to do your job to your best ability, i would bet it pays your wages. It is easy to take a swipe at GM, no one is going to call round to you home and smack you in the face are they? I would like to!
    why not speak to someone at GM?

  • Jannis

    Get with it. The Volt is only being offered in 7 U.S. cteiis the 1st year. A 50% production increase for 2012 by adding the rest of the nation is not much of an expectation. Nice spin job GM.

  • brimoind

    Typical Jannis, you see a story  and pick out one thing to comment on and that is to show your negativity to General Motoprs nothing else! Great job, keep it up you will all be buying chineese cars soon enough, except that your economy will be in such a mess that most Americans will not be able to afford a car!
    Get with it and support the USA fool.
    By the way i am not American, i do not know anyone personally who is American and i have never been to America. I do know that there are an awful; lot of Americans who seem to support anything other than what they make locally though, a reason?
    It’s still your call, you are the superpower, for the moment anyway!