Japanese automakers, in coordination with the central government, have created a task force aimed at addressing the growing threat of the coronavirus outbreak to the country’s automotive industry.

The COVID-19 brought wide-ranging impact on the said industry with the extended closure of auto plants in China, including Japanese manufacturers like Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the newly formed group, officially named New Coronavirus Countermeasures Automobile Council, will accumulate information, policy support and necessary financing to combat the economic impact of COVID-19.

Members of the council will likewise monitor developments and work with government officials “on measures to ensure the smooth flow of components through supply chains.”
“Automakers, component manufacturers, and the government work together to ensure rapid response to the information on the industry, with a view to ensuring that measures can be taken to prepare for the possible impact of the new coronavirus on the automotive supply chain in the future,” the Japanese government explained.

The shutdown of Chinese factories, mostly in the virus-epicenter Hubei province, has disrupted supplies of finished goods and components including transmissions and steering systems.

Due to the shortages, several international carmakers have limited or suspended productions in different countries.

Japan’s Nissan closed part of its manufacture line in Kyushu. Italian automaker Fiat had temporarily halted production at its Serbian plant. While Renault joined Hyundai’s production suspension in Korea after feeling the pinch of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Japanese giants Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota said they are striving to maintain operations in Japan despite reported shutdowns in the mainland.

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