The earthquake that hit Japan on 11 March, causing a tsunami and a nuclear crisis, did more than rock the country. Japan's motor industry was also shaken badly, with many of its parts suppliers hit.
A warning by the country's leading car-maker, Toyota, that parts shortages could curb output this year, coincided with booming sales and profits at its main global rival, General Motors (GM). GM has just announced it is planning to invest $2bn (£1.2bn) in plants in eight US states, as well as creating hundreds of jobs.
Fellow US car-maker Ford has also reported bumper profits and sales. And even the country's third-largest automotive company, Chrysler, is back in the black. Less than two years ago, GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy and were bailed out by US taxpayers, while Ford had to sell its luxury division, which included Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo cars.
At the time, Toyota and the other Japanese car-makers were gaining ground in the troubled Detroit-based companies' home market.
The timing of this latest see-saw shift in the global automotive landscape is significant, coming as it does on the eve of an anticipated boom in sales across Asia. Continue...
Source: BBC News