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Wait-and-see on Japan cars


John Sealy

Wait-and-see on Japan cars

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CAR dealers who import vehicles from Japan are keeping close tabs on that Asian country following the recent earthquake, the tsunami that followed and now a threat of radiation from damaged nuclear plants – that severely damaged the country and economy.
Samuel Gaston, regional product manager at Courtesy Garage, expressed sadness at the distress caused to Japanese families, but said there was not much they could do at the moment.
“In relation to our operations, a lot of vehicles come from Japan itself [but] we have not received any direct information that would tell us that our shipments would be affected.”
He said correspondence from Nissan was that one of the factories had minor damage and some were closed.
Gaston reported Nissan had experienced some loss and damage to vehicles that were headed to North America.
“Our shipments coming here usually leave at the end of the month, so I don’t think [ours] will be at the [Bridgetown Port] as yet. It is still early days. So when things settle down a bit, we will hear from them as to if we are going to get less vehicles or any vehicles,” said Gaston.
One used car dealer, who did not want to be identified, also said it was too early to speculate on what impact the situation in Japan would have on her future business.
 “So far everything seems to be all right because the vehicles come from all different places in Japan and then they are collated and then come on the boat. We are not getting too much communication but we are not getting any reports of delays.?Whether that would change we don’t know,” she said.
She could not say whether there might be an imminent price hike.
Roger Moore, sales director of Nassco, was also in a wait-and-see mode on how the Japan crisis would affect his company.
“I don’t have an answer now because we are still gathering information from Toyota. There has been some damage in the port area but I don’t know if they are any of our vehicles,” he said.
Moore said Toyota was putting priority on the relief effort and ensuring the employees and all other subsidiary manufacturers and their members and family were safe.
“Right now, the factories have closed all the manufacturing plants.”
Another small used car dealer predicted that business would not be back to normal for sometime, based on a conversation he had with his Japan supplier.
“You have to see if there will be any restriction here for these vehicles. It will take a little while before things get back to normal in getting cars from Japan.
“If we have a [nuclear] meltdown that will be real trouble,” said the dealer, who asked not to be identified.

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