Shares of Japan's big three car makers dip after Renesas auto chip-plant fire


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Toyota logo at the Tokyo Motor Show

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares of Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor fell on Monday following a fire at a Renesas Electronics semiconductor plant that may aggravate a global shortage of automotive chips.

The stock price of Japan’s big three car makers fell more than 2% in early trading compared with a smaller 1.4% dip in the benchmark index on the Tokyo bourse.

Renesas said it will take at least a month to restart production on a 300mm wafer line at its Naka plant in northeast Japan after a fire on Friday caused by an electrical fault destroyed machinery and poured smoke into the sensitive clean room. Two-thirds of production at the affected line is automotive chips.

It said the impact on shipments to customers will begin in around a month.

The three car makers told Reuters that they are assessing what impact the closure of the chip line will have on them.

Nissan and Honda had already been forced to scale back production plans because of the chip shortage resulting from growing demand from consumer electronic makers and an unexpected rebound in car sales from a slump during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Toyota, which ensured parts suppliers had enough stocks of chips, has fared better so far.

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