Shortage of Japanese model cars cuts deep

Danny Asao
Danny Asao
Rick Ching
Rick Ching

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

WAIPIO (HawaiiNewsNow) - The downshift in on-hand stock has stripped Tony Honda's new car inventory. New vehicles take up a thin row of stalls in the Waipio dealership.

"We're down below fifty vehicles right now," general sales manager Danny Asao said.

Usually the supply totals 250 to 300 new cars with ample numbers of Fits, Civics and CR-Z's.

"All the hybrids are solely produced in Japan," Asao said. "That's been a little hindrance there."

Servco Automotive also is short on new automobiles like RAV4's and Prius's.

"Virtually every vehicle in our Scion lineup got very tight in terms of supply," Servco Automotive president Rick Ching said.

Japan's March earthquake and tsunami crippled factories north of Tokyo that produce key parts and components for Toyota and Honda. The shutdown stopped production lines.

"There were some issues with certain suppliers of electronics, paint, rubber products.  That made it difficult to get certain parts and certain colors," Ching said.

June to June comparisons show Toyota and Honda sales down about 25 percent. But dealers said now that Japan's factories have re-opened a rebound is expected by late August, and definitely by September.

"Japan's a strong country and they came back really strong," Asao said.

"The supply is starting to come back and shipments are coming in," Ching said.

With fewer new models to sell, dealers have been steering customers toward pre-owned cars and counting the days until supplies of new cars get back to normal.

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