S&P Downgrades Outlook on Japanese Automakers

The March 11 quake and tsunami have prompted Standard & Poor's rating agency to revise from “stable” to “negative” its outlook for top Japanese automakers, reports the China Post.


The top automakers are Toyota, Nissan and Honda. The ratings agency also made the same revision for three major auto parts suppliers — Aisin Seiki, Denso, and Toyota Industries — citing production slowdowns and stoppages, electricity supply disruptions and lower consumer confidence.


Many key component manufacturers in Japan are based in the worst-hit northeast regions, where facilities were damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake or inundated by the giant wave that followed.


S&P expects that the six companies will experience “deteriorated operating and financial performance” in fiscal 2011 due to production cuts resulting from parts shortages following the devastating quake.


“The outlook revisions also reflect our opinion that extended production cuts may erode Japanese automakers' market shares and competitive positions in the longer term,” the agency said in a statement.


According to the Post, investors are expecting overseas rivals to benefit from a prolonged slump in Japanese output pushed up shares in South Korea's Hyundai Motors and associate Kia Motors to record highs on Monday.




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