Unfortunately, the worst for the auto industry is yet to come. AutoNation is warning that "production disruptions will significantly impact product availability from Japanese auto manufacturers in the second and third quarters of 2011."
Because of supply chain disruptions, a number of North American manufacturing facilities look like they will be shutting down at least for a while.
For example, Toyota has announced that it will be shutting down all of its North American factories for a certain period of time because of shortages of parts from Japan.
But Toyota is far from alone as a recent report in The Globe and Mail made quite clear....
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. has already slashed output by half at its North American plants, while Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will shut all its U.S. and Mexican plants for at least one week in April. Ford Motor Co., too, has halted production at a truck plant in Kentucky this week.
So why don't North American facilities just switch to other suppliers?
Unfortunately, as CNN recently noted, it is just not that simple....
Japanese companies also specialized in making the array of highly specialized computer chips that control everything from the engine to the brakes in modern cars.
Japan makes the computer chips for all vehicles not just Toyota Honda and Nissan. And this is just one aspect of Japan's crises.