Recently the NHK News reported the following:
For the auto manufactures in Japan, because of the earthquake, the procurement of parts became stagnant, output continued to decrease, and whether decreased sales to foreign countries would recover became a problem.
Car production that had been decreasing because the procurements such as electronic parts became stagnant, and the deep effect surfaced and had been reflected in the sales. According to a research company in the US, the number of sales of new cars in the United States in May, for Toyota was 108,387, a decrease of as much as 33% compared with the same month the previous year; and the sales share fell from 14.7% a year ago to 10.2%. On the other hand, for South Korea, the Hyonde car group, the sales share was expanded from 7.2% to 10.1%, creating a situation of pressing towards Toyota. Although manufacturers such as Toyota expected that procurement such as electronic parts could recover and production could recover to pre-earthquake level by autumn, thus the expectation was that it could bring along the recovery of sales. But because in overseas market the sales competition from countries such as the United States and the rising new nations was tense, whether they could return back to the old days was a big question. Moreover, on top of the influence of the earthquake, the problem of strong yen against the dollar, that is one dollar equal to about 80 yen in a foreign exchange market was a factor instigating exporting company's performance. On the 13th President Osamu Mashiko of Mitsubishi Motors at the press conference, showing deep worry, described that "Appreciation of the yen is a large encumbrance. If the current exchange level continues, it becomes a big problem in respect of the price competitiveness". Moreover, vice president Satoshi Ozawa of Toyota Motor said at last week's press conference that "Under the present level of yen appreciation, domestically to keep production is near the end of the limit", and showed the feeling of crisis that appreciation of the yen would harmfully influence production and employment in the country.
There are good reasons for the Japanese car makers to worry that their leading role in the sales of car would come to an end.