The worst bout of flooding to hit Thailand in decades is wreaking absolute havoc on automotive production in the kingdom, among the many businesses and livelihoods that have been affected.
A large number of automotive-related companies have fallen victim to the recent bout of flooding, which has inudated huge swathes of the country. Among these are Honda Automobile Thailand, which has been forced to half production at its Ayutthaya plant due to this; the plant remained flooded as of yesterday, and was unapproachable.
The suspension of plant production in Ayutthaya area is expected to have an inevitable impact on Honda Malaysia’s production as HATC, along with its suppliers in the same region whose operations are also suspended, provides considerable number of parts for the Malaysian CKD operation for the City, Civic, Accord and CR-V models.
According to Honda Malaysia, the company has since Monday reduced its output in Melaka to prolong the production, using on-hand stock, and said it regrets that there will be delay in product delivery, with production in its plant slowing down due to the suspension of parts supply.
Elsewhere in the country, other automakers were also struggling to keep production going, according to reports. Nissan said that 20 parts suppliers with factories in Ayutthaya province were hit by the flood and, with its parts inventory drying out as of yesterday, was trying to figure out a way to continue production using alternative parts from today.
Mitsubishi Motors has suspended operations at its vehicle assembly plant in Chonburi, starting from yesterday evening to Saturday, also again due to a parts shortages, and hasn’t yet decided what to do from next Monday onwards.
Toyota also has stopped vehicle assembly through Saturday, and has asked a domestic manufacturer to produce some of the parts, including aluminum wheels, that it made in Thailand, until the flooding, the reports add.
Suppliers were also hit – Tohoku Pioneer shut its factory, which builds automotive audio equipment parts, in Rojana Industrial Park after the facility was inundated. Even after the water is pumped out, the restoration of essential utilities is expected to take some time.
On the non-automotive front, the likes of Nikon and Canon have also been hit. Nikon’s SLR (single-lens reflex) camera plant was flooded, but details are murky because personnel cannot get close to the facility. The company is believed to have about a month’s worth of stockpile of digital SLR cameras – if production equipment is underwater, the factory will be unable to resume operations quickly even after the water is pumped out.
As for Canon, it has decided to temporarily shift production out of the Hi-Tech Industrial Estate, in Ayutthaya, which is 60 km away from Bangkok, after it was inundated when a protective barrier broke – the site is home to factories and plants belonging to nearly 100 Japanese corporations. All factories in the industrial park have suspended operations.