As fears of radiation from Japan’s severely compromised Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant seem to be growing by the minute, automakers have tried to assure car buyers that most of their products are produced far enough away from the crippled facility that fallout won’t end up on vehicles, but a report from Kicking Tires shows that Nissan wants to go a step further.
Nissan will reportedly perform a radiation inspection on all vehicles imported from Japan; a process that will continue until all threats of contamination have subsided.
Nissan, along with other Japanese automakers, is also trying to better assess any potential supply disruptions that could come as a result of the quake and ensuing tsunami. The automaker claims that its current supply of vehicles here in the U.S. stands at 50 days worth of cars, trucks and SUVs. That number could dwindle, however, as current estimates show that the carmaker has at least seven days worth of parts. After those seven days are up, the company will reportedly reassess its situation.
The problems facing automakers in the wake of Japan’s deadly earthquake and the resulting tsunami are already manifesting themselves in the form of higher transaction prices on some Japanese cars, as U.S. dealers show less willingness to negotiate downward from the number on the window sticker, according to an AP report.
Automakers like Toyota, Honda and Nissan all say they have a sufficient supply of vehicles in the U.S. that had already been imported from Japan before the disaster struck. So, if there are still plenty of Japanese cars on Stateside lots, why the hardening prices?
It’s a simple case of supply and demand, explain some dealers polled by The Associated Press. “We’re going to run out of cars. We had five [Prius hybrids] on the ground yesterday, and I don’t know when I’ll get another,” says Dave Conant, owner of a Toyota dealership in San Diego, CA. “The market has shifted pretty quickly and dramatically.”
Of course, some people believe dealerships are just using speculative vehicle shortages to make a few extra bucks. We suspect the truth may be a little bit of both.
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