Filed under: Car Buying , Japan , Toyota Don’t you just hate when your neighbors’ mess becomes your problem? Toyota certainly has good reason to be upset, after an dirty mishap at a steel mill delayed thousands of vehicle exports from its nearby port in Nagoya, Japan, (pictured above) by as much as a month. The messy situation occurred on June 22 when the mill near the port lost power and had to burn off an excess buildup of coke oven gas – which isn’t exactly a situation friendly to living beings or the environment . According to Automotive News , it caused a massive amount of smoke to emit from the plant that fell as soot and tar on about 23,000 vehicles that were waiting to be shipped out. Getting the models properly cleaned off has been quite a task. A team of 5,000 workers were at the port until this week getting them gleaming again. Potential Toyota buyers in North America have no need to fret about getting a sullied car, though. A Toyota spokesperson told Automotive News that none of the vehicles were bound for this continent. The automaker is reportedly considering asking the mill’s owners for reimbursement for the cost of the weeks of cleanup. Paying for the mistake is, after all, the neighborly thing to do.
Filed under: Japan , Plants/Manufacturing , Nissan , Toyota , South Korea The strong yen has Japanese carmakers looking to optimize every efficiency in order to keep their cars competitive in export markets. One strategy gaining momentum is to do some island hopping, specifically, moving plants and manufacturing to Kyushu, the southernmost main island in the Japanese archipelago. Car production there as a percentage of total Japanese production has doubled from 2001 to 2011, but more startling are the recent increases: Nissan just moved its Note and Caravan production there, Toyota is boosting production there by 600 percent, and total units made in Kyushu climbed 21 percent from 2010 to 2011. The three big factors involved are lower personnel costs, lower auto parts costs and increased productivity because of newer, more efficient factories. Companies can save ten percent on personnel in Kyushu versus traditional manufacturing centers like Aichi and Kanagawa, which are on the main island of Honshu and near major cities like Nagoya and Tokyo. Kyushu is also much closer to the South Korean peninsula, and the weakness of the South Korean won means importing lower-priced Korean auto parts is an even more attractive option. Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun says it could soon be the Detroit of Japan. The prediction could be sped up if intergovernment talks can rework laws on transportation: it’s illegal for trucks with South Korean plates to drive on Japanese roads, so trucks hauling parts get shipped to Kyushu ports and their cargo is transferred to Japanese trucks. Japanese and South Korean officials are working to determine how to allow trucks from across the strait to travel unhindered from Korean auto parts factories to Japanese car factories. Kyushu on the road to becoming Japan’s Motor City originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 22 Jul 2012 12:02:00 EST.