Honda says it will suspend some production in the U.S. and Canada next week as the pandemic, a chip shortage and winter weather batter its supply chain. Toyota, too, may have to idle some lines, shifts or even entire plants as the cold front disrupts supplies of some products.
At least Toyota doesn’t have a chip shortage, unlike its competitors. The firm pioneered the just-in-time manufacturing strategy, but its decision to stockpile chips, which have become key components in cars, goes back a decade to the Fukushima disaster, Bloomberg reports.
Toyota is also looking to the future, its vision of which is taking shape at the foot of Mount Fuji, where the firm just began building a new city where it can play with all its toys. Woven City will be powered by solar and hydrogen fuel cells much like the ones in its new Mirai vehicles. The new cell technology will go on sale to power companies and other sectors this spring.
Toyota may be the No. 1 carmaker in the world in terms of sales, but it was outshone by Mazda in the latest Consumer Reports auto brand rankings. Mazda made the top spot for the first time, knocking Porsche off its pedestal, while Toyota came in seventh, below Subaru and Honda.
In the small business aircraft market, however, Honda reigns supreme, with its HondaJet the best-seller in the sector for the fourth straight year. But let’s keep things in perspective: Only 31 of the planes changed hands in 2020.
The carmaker also gets bragging rights for being the first in the world to release a “level-3” self-driving car, albeit only 100 of them for now, on three-year leases in Japan. Honda’s revamped Legend sedan allows drivers to kick back in traffic jams and take their hands off the wheel for a bit.