The Impact of the Japanese Earthquakes on Lexus, Toyota Models

2015 Toyota Camry

The news of the recent earthquakes that struck Japan had a strong impact on the U.S. auto market when it comes to Toyota and Lexus. Several models have had to suspend production while the factories are inspected and repaired.

It’s even affected Toyota’s position as the number-one automaker. That spot was usurped by Volkswagen because of the shutdowns. Yes, in spite of the diesel emissions scandal, VW is on top because of the popularity of its Audi, Porsche, and Skoda brands.

The Japanese earthquake has also caused GM to shut down two of its plants this week, because it can’t get parts it needs for the Cadillac XT5, GMC Acadia, Chevy Impala, Chevy Cruze, Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS, Chevy Malibu, and Buick LaCrosse.

But the big problems will be with Toyota. Based on a little digging through the Toyota and Lexus websites, it looks like the following models’ production was affected by the earthquakes. Toyota has announced production has stopped at the plants that produce them.

Affected Toyota models Affected Lexus models

Immediate impact on buyers
What’s the immediate impact on Toyota and Lexus buyers? Nothing if you’re buying a model that’s already on a dealer lot. Obviously, those cars are already made.

The long-term impact will impact special orders straight from the factory. Will that honestly be a concern with any of the Toyota models? Probably not, since none of those models tend to be ordered from the factory because their supply is usually so good.

You might run into problems with the performance models coming from Lexus. The Lexus RC F is a sweet car that an owner might want to see specially built with certain features – either stripped down for track time or fully loaded for a combination of track time and luxury from the 467-horsepower V8 engine.

Days to Turn
Another factor to consider right now is the relatively high “days to turn” number dealerships are experiencing. That’s a reference to how long it takes to sell a vehicle. The industry average is 70 days. Toyota is well ahead of that at 44 days, and Lexus is closer to the average at 54 days.

That low number for Toyota could potentially be a problem if you’re not ready to buy a new car yet. When the time comes, there could be supply problems. When will that time arrive? Probably about 6 weeks from now, or about mid-June.

Of course, those are just manufacturer averages on days to turn. Each model has its own number. But sedans aren’t selling as well as crossovers, which are most of the cars made in Japan. That could work to your advantage.

Is there a price advantage?
There probably will be a price advantage, because the company will have to make up for lost sales opportunities. There’s a finite period during which Toyota can sell 2016 model year vehicles before the 2017 models have to roll out.

There will be opportunities from the earthquakes for consumers. It will come in about 6 weeks and probably won’t affect existing dealer stock.

-Keith Griffin

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