Photo/IllutrationSubaru Corp.’s main Gunma assembly plant in Ota, Gunma Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

OTA, Gunma Prefecture--Subaru Corp. halted operation of its main assembly and other plants in Gunma Prefecture on Oct. 16 because of disruption in the parts supply chain caused by Typhoon No. 19.

The typhoon did not cause any major damage to the automaker's plants in the prefecture. However, some of the company's auto parts suppliers suffered water damage in eastern Japan, affecting Subaru's supply chain and procurement of parts.

After the typhoon passed through, Subaru started to operate its Gunma plants as usual on Oct. 14, but halted operations at its assembly and engine and transmission plants in the prefecture from the afternoon of Oct. 16.

Subaru is offering personnel and material support to its affected suppliers and is aiming to restart operations on Oct. 25.

The assembly plants in Gunma, which are the company's only such plants in Japan, roll out about 2,500 vehicles per day for domestic and overseas sales.

Subaru originally planned to temporarily halt production from Oct. 19 to 22, which includes a weekend and a national holiday for the emperor's enthronement, so the impact is expected to be limited to about 10,000 units.

“We would like to restore the situation and restart operations as soon as possible,” a Subaru spokesman said.

In January, Subaru also suspended operations of its Gunma plants for about 10 days because of problems with power steering equipment supplied from auto parts manufacturers.

After the Gunma plants halted operations, Toyota Industries Corp. in Aichi Prefecture, Toyota Group’s major auto parts maker, suspended part of its production of parts for automotive air conditioners for Subaru in Aichi on Oct. 16.

Other auto manufacturers also suffered disruptions to their operations from the massive typhoon.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. is also experiencing some delays in its parts procurement because auto parts manufacturers suffered damage in the Tohoku region.

Mitsubishi temporarily halted part of its production and assembly lines at its plants in Kanagawa Prefecture on the afternoon of Oct. 15.

The automaker operated as usual on Oct. 16 and 17, but it has not yet decided about its operations on Oct. 18 and afterward.

“We will decide on the next day’s operation while we see how the situation goes,” said a Mitsubishi public relations official.

Assembly plants of other major automakers are operating as usual, despite their parts suppliers suffering damage.

Nissan Motor Co. said that some of its business partners were affected by the typhoon. Mazda Motor Corp. reported that a business partner that manufactures plastic parts suffered damage.

Just after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the supply chains of automakers were disrupted. The lack of auto parts delayed car production, and it took nearly six months for carmakers to return to normal.

After that, auto manufacturers reviewed their entire supply chains, including second- and third-tier subcontracting companies.

They have been taking measures, such as looking for backup auto parts suppliers in the event of a disaster and requiring business partners to devise emergency contingency plans.

(This article was written by Takeho Morita and Eitaro Takeyama.)