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Tony O'Kane | Mar 31, 2009

While staff at General Motors and Chrysler are no doubt busy pulling on floaties and preparing the lifeboats, their Japanese equivalents are getting increasingly worried about the state of the US car industry.

“I think it will be best if General Motors is able to continue its operations,” Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe (above) said last week.

“There surely has to be light at the end of the tunnel. I want the decline to stop, and I’m watching closely for it every month, but it’s not coming.”

Perhaps the biggest ramification for Japanese automakers in the event of a major failure of the US auto industry would be the effect it would have on major parts suppliers like Delphi Corp, Bosch Auto Parts and TRW Automotive – suppliers which are used by the Japanese as well as the US marques.

If one US car maker or more were to disappear, consumer spending in the USA would also be affected – a bad situation for any manufacturer, both domestic and foreign.

And with the USA as the world's largest automotive market, everyone is rooting for the survival of the home team – even the competition.

“A healthy U.S. auto industry is in the best interests of everyone,” said Alan Buddendeck, corporate vice president of global communications at Nissan.

Share prices for Japanese automakers have already been hit hard by the global financial crisis with Toyota's stock dropping 3.7 percent, Honda Motor Co. shedding 6.7 percent and Nissan Motor Co. falling 7.7 percent on Monday.

With all of these manufacturers boasting a significant presence in the USA, any further bad news from the Land of the Free would likely plunge those share values down even further.

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