Crisis without end or crisis as a chance.

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper

Source:

Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2012)

Abstract:

Holger Bungsche
Professor at the School for International Studies
Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya
Japan

Preliminary title of the paper:
Crises without End – Crisis as a Chance
Japan’s Automobile Industry and Automobile Market after the Financial, the 3/11 Tsunami and the Thailand Flood Crises

Outline of the paper:
Since 2008 Japan’s automobile industry is continuously confronted with crises. After the financial crisis of 2008/09, which in fact was a huge sales crisis hitting especially car exports from Japan and local production in Japan’s second home market the USA, the industry had to deal with the effects of the Tsunami disaster in March 2011. On the one hand, supply chains that proved to be very vulnerable to natural disasters had to be reorganized, and on the other hand factories throughout Japan had to rearrange production schedules in order to evade electricity shortages. Finally, the flood disaster in Thailand, which especially affected the supply chain of foreign production sites of Japanese manufacturers also showed shortcomings of the internationalization strategies of Japanese companies, especially Toyota and Honda. In addition to that, Japanese car producers have to deal with an adverse exchange rate of the Yen that appreciating for instance by about 60% against the Euro since 2009.
Against the above outlined background, my paper will concentrate on two issues. The first issue is the impact the crises have or had on the Japanese domestic car market. In this part my paper will discuss the ongoing changes in the Japanese car market as well as the increasing political pressure to boost ecological friendly cars. Although fundamental reforms of the car and gasoline taxation system, which should have been implemented in April 2012, could not yet be achieved, the tax exemption regulations and incentive schemes for purchasing low emission and energy efficient cars, which was initially planed to expire in March 2012, will very likely be extended for another 3 years, applying much stricter efficiency standards then in the initial stage.
The second issue will concern the reactions of the car manufacturers towards the crises, particular with respect to reorganizing the supply chains after the earthquake and tsunami in North-Eastern Japan as well as after the flood in Thailand. This part of the paper will also ask whether there are efforts to decentralize or relocate production as well as whether there are intensified attempts made to increase production efficiency further in order to save energy, which could also be seen as a step towards sustainable development in manufacturing.
Extending the scope of my presentation beyond the developments in the Japanese car market after the financial crisis, which was the central aspect of my presentation last year, this year’s paper intents to shed light on the organizational challenges and changes that are resulting from the various crises.

Relevance and Links to the GERPISA Program and the 2012 Conference:
The paper has relevance to the overall theme of the GERPISA conference ‘Structuring new Automotive Industries, Structuring old Automotive Industries, and the New Global Geopolitics of the Automotive Sector. It especially relates to the themes (6) Restructuring processes affecting the European, American and Japanese automotive industries, but also partially to theme (1) New kinds of mobility, new markets, new public policies as well as theme (4) Manufacturer trajectories and strategies

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Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Stéphane Heim

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