Carmakers are continuing to assess the impact on business of last week’s devastating tornados, which hit the southeast of the United States.
For three days between 25-28 April, 362 tornadoes were recorded, including 312 in a single 24-hour period. It was the largest tornado strike in US recorded history.
The tornado swept across the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Louisiana and Kentucky causing the deaths of at least 350 people and widespread destruction to houses and infrastructure.
Tuscaloosa, which is the location of Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz facility in Alabama (pictured), was the single worst-hit location, with one-seventh of the city reported to be destroyed by the storms. However, the company said that no employees had been injured and that only minor damage had been sustained to the plant, which had not had an impact on production. The plant builds the Mercedes M-, R- and GL-class vehicles.
The company cancelled night shifts on Wednesday to Thursday last week so employees would not have to travel to work and shifts for the rest of the week were cancelled to allow them to help relatives and friends affected, a spokeswoman told Automotive Logistics News.
Full production was resumed on Monday this week.
Also in Alabama, Toyota has been forced to close its Huntsville engine plant because of power losses that are continuing to affect the state.
The ongoing power failure has stopped output of engines for the Tundra and Tacoma pickups and the Sequoia SUV, which Toyota delivers to its plants in Indiana, Texas and Mexico.
“There were enough engines in the pipeline to keep those plants going at least through this week,” said a spokesman for the company. “We hope to get power restored this week so there will be no further interruption.”
Meanwhile, Honda said that its facilities at Lincoln, Alabama had avoided any damage, though it reported that some of its associates in surrounding communities had been affected.
A spokesman for Honda North America said the company was trying to evaluate the affect of the storms on its suppliers, their plants and their ability to get people to work. The company is also looking at road and bridge damage.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, which provides vehicle processing, yard management and shipping services for Honda from the Lincoln plant said there had been minimal impact from the tornado but "no substantial damages", with facilities remaining open and operational throughout.