TOKYO: The novel coronavirus pandemic is now forcing Japanese automakers to suspend overseas production in the Asian region and Latin America after Europe and the United States.
Suzuki Motor Corp. halted operations at two assembly plants in India, where the company has the largest market share, from Monday for the time being. The plants can produce a combined 1.5 million vehicles a year.
Suzuki said it will decide when to resume operations in accordance with the Indian government's anti-coronavirus policy.
Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. also started halting operations in the West Asian country Monday, while industry leader Toyota Motor Corp. had to stop production there on the day as workers could hardly commute.
In the Philippines, Toyota will refrain from operating assembly and parts plants until mid-April, and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will not roll out new vehicles until April 12.
Toyota will also keep suspending production in Malaysia until the end of March, while Honda is set to shutter a motorcycle plant in Pakistan from Tuesday.
In Latin America, there will be no vehicle output by Toyota and Honda in Argentina until the end of the month. Mexico will not see any Nissan vehicles coming out of domestic factories from Wednesday through April 14.
A voluntary restraint mood is spreading in Brazil, where 1,500 people have infected with the coronavirus so far, and other parts of the region.
Besides production, vehicle sales have already been affected adversely by the virus, with more and more local dealerships stopping business.
"Even if production gets started again, chilled consumer sentiment will remain worrisome," a major Japanese automaker's senior official said.