Fears for production at Sunderland Nissan plant after Japan earthquake and tsunami

Fishing boats which were washed out by the tsunami are left in Minami Soma, Fukushima, northern Japan.
Fishing boats which were washed out by the tsunami are left in Minami Soma, Fukushima, northern Japan.
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NISSAN bosses say the Japanese disaster could hit production at the firm’s Wearside plant, but it is too early to say how serious the effect will be.

While they wait for news, Sunderland staff have been doing their bit to help the company’s European operation raise $1million (£620,000) to help the rescue effort.

Nissan issued a statement today on how the earthquake and subsequent tsunami will affect its operations across Europe.

All Nissan plants across the continent will continue to operate as normal for the time being, but the company is predicting disruptions to its supply chain in Japan will have a knock-on effect at some point.

“Although all plants in Japan, except for the Iwaki engine plant, have been able to repair some damaged facilities and/or equipment, it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers,” it said.

“Due to supply disruption in Japan, we anticipate some impact in the medium term but it is too soon to determine the extent of that impact.”

Nissan says it will be able to cope for some time, with 80 per cent of the cars it sells in Europe made at its plants across the continent, sufficient cars stock-piled to maintain sales and customer deliveries for at least six weeks and enough supplies already en-route from Japan to allow it to continue production for some time.

The firm expects all its European employees in Japan at the time of the quake to be home by tomorrow and announced Nissan Europpe is to donate $1million in cash and in-kind assistance to support earthquake relief efforts.

The money will bring Nissan’s global contributions to the relief effort to more than $3.75million (£2,325,000), including corporate donations, employee gift matching and the provision of 50 vehicles to support aid agencies in the affected areas of Japan.

Japan has called on the U.S. for help in reining in the crisis at its dangerously overheated nuclear complex, while the UN atomic energy chief called the disaster a race against the clock that demanded global cooperation.

At the stricken complex, military fire engines began spraying the troubled reactor units again this morning, with tonnes of water arching over the facility in desperate attempts to douse the units and prevent meltdowns that could spew dangerous levels of radiation.

“The whole world, not just Japan, is depending on them,” Tokyo office worker Norie Igarashi, 44, said of the emergency teams at the plants.