Production at Japanese auto makers' factories in Thailand was disrupted on Wednesday after the country's armed forces seized power in Bangkok, with Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and others calling off work for the day.
Most Japanese auto makers have major manufacturing and export bases in Thailand, which has welcomed foreign assemblers in a bid to build up a strong auto components industry.
There has been a strong recommendation to stay indoors, a Nissan spokeswoman in Tokyo said, adding that the company had confirmed that all 52 Japanese employees at Nissan and affiliated companies were safe. She said a decision on whether to reopen its plants, on the outskirts of Bangkok, on Thursday would be made later.
Nissan's two factories build about 200 Frontier pickup trucks, Teana sedans and Tiida compact cars a day.
Mazda, which has a 50-50 joint venture factory with Ford's controlling shareholder Ford Motor Co. in Rayong, about a three-hour drive from Bangkok, has also canceled work for the day, including at its sales and regional offices in the capital.
Toyota Motor Corp. Japan's top auto maker and the No. 1 seller in Thailand, had earlier told employees to stay at home but later lifted that order. The original directive had not reached many of the workers, and the three factories had been operating as usual from their 7:30 a.m. start.
Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe later told a news conference in Tokyo that the auto maker had decided to cancel the second shift, starting at 5:30 p.m. local time.
I expect there will be some impact on production and sales, but we don't know by how much, he said. A decision on whether to resume production on Thursday has not yet been made, Toyota said.
Rival Honda Motor Co. canceled work for the first shift at its car plant in Bangkok but said it planned to resume for the second shift starting at 8 p.m. local time. Its motorcycle factory was operating as usual, a spokeswoman said.
Honda builds about 480 units of the Accord, City, Civic and other cars daily at the factory.
Truck maker Isuzu Motors Ltd., which has a major production base in Thailand, shut down its two truck factories outside Bangkok at 9 a.m. local time after 90 minutes of work. A spokesman said Isuzu was studying how to proceed on Thursday, gauging the flow of components and distribution capabilities.
Mitsubishi Motors Corp.'s factory in Chonburi, southeast of Bangkok, was running as usual, reporting no impact on exports.
Shares in Japanese auto makers ended weaker across the board, but most outperformed the broader market. The transport sector subindex lost 0.59 percent, shaving earlier losses, while Tokyo's TOPIX closed 1.37 percent lower.