Nov. 15 - Mitsubishi, Nissan and Madza resume production in Thailand, after a month-long halt caused by the country's worst flooding in 50 years. Arnold Gay reports.
Japanese car makers Mitsubishi, Nissan and Mazda have resumed vehicle production in Thailand, after a month-long halt caused by the country's worst flooding in 50 years. Production at the Mitsubishi Motor's factory in the Leam Cha Bang Industrial Estate, resumed Monday (November 14). The plant was not damaged by flood waters, but ran short of parts, amid disruptions to local suppliers that saw all eight Japanese automakers suspending their Thai production. Mitsubishi was forced to source parts from other countries, including Japan, to restart work. VP for manufacturing Suvitch Benchatikul says lost production came up to the tens of thousands. SOUNDBITE (Thai) VICE PRESIDENT FOR MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTION CONTROL AT MITSUBISHI MOTORS (THAILAND) SUVITCH BENCHATIKUL, SAYING: "We've lost more than 20,000 vehicles including export cars, and car parts that we export to other countries. Today is the first day we fully resumed production of pick-ups, sedans and trucks." Mitsubishi is asking workers to put in overtime, including weekends, to boost production. The factory employs more than 3,000 people, most, like Yutthana Sanlab are happy to be back SOUNDBITE (Thai) MITSUBISHI PLANT WORKER YUTTHANA SANLAB, SAYING: "I'm happy to be able to work again because if I don't have work, I have no income." Due to the month long suspension, Mitsubishi expects to miss its 2011 Thai production target by 8,000 vehicles. It's full-year target is 250,000 vehicles. With Toyota aiming to resume Thai production next week, Honda is the only big Japanese carmaker without a clear schedule on when its flooded Ayutthaya plant can restart operations. Arnold Gay, Reuters.