The effect of Japan's earthquake on new car prices

December 30, 2011 12:00 AM

The Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami was one of the biggest stories of the year not just in the auto industry, but around the world. The disaster affected production at Toyota, Honda and Nissan and caused major problems for the automakers over several months. But how exactly did it affect the price of new cars?

With less inventory, many dealers marked up their Japanese cars. Data compiled by ALG shows that the Nissan Rogue's price rose by 3 percent after the earthquake, when the segment as a whole only jumped by 0.3 percent. Compact cars in general were 2.3 percent more expensive from February 2011 to June, but the Honda Fit specifically was nearly 6 percent more expensive.

"Japanese production has been slowly restored over the last few months, with August 2011 showing year-over-year growth again," said Eric Lyman, vice president of residual value solutions for ALG. "While supply shortages did push up new car prices in the short term, a relatively fast production recovery resulted in those spikes being less significant than originally predicted. However, actual pricing increases were within the estimated increases initially forecasted."

Drivers who have a Fit, Rogue or any other vehicle can ensure that it stays on the road longer through routine auto maintenance, such as radiator flush & fills.

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