With rising gasoline prices prompting a shift to hybrids, Toyota’s U.S. dealers are concerned about supplies of the Toyota Prius, which is built in Japan.
Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Article Courtesy of Lindsay Chappell & David Phillips of Automotive News
March 14, 2011 – 4:23PM EST
North American automakers are facing the possibility of parts shortages from the devastation in Japan.
While Japanese-owned assembly plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico went about their normal production schedules today, assessment teams on both sides of the Pacific were evaluating the damage to global supply lines.
Suspecting that parts shortages will soon become a reality, some automakers immediately trimmed overtime production to conserve parts.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s North American plants suspended overtime production for that reason.
Mike Goss, spokesman for Toyota’s North American manufacturing and engineering operations, said the company imports about 20 percent of its components from Japan. He said the company was confident about the working condition of its Tier 1 supply base, but personnel were assessing the situation among Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers in Japan.
Subaru’s parent, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., said today that about 30 of its suppliers had sustained damage from the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.
Fuji, which builds the Subaru Legacy, Outback and Tribeca in Lafayette, Ind., relies on Japanese plants for all its transmissions and six-cylinder engines.
“We just don’t know yet what impact we will see,” said Tom Easterday, executive vice president of Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. “Right now, it’s production as usual. But it takes about a week for the parts flow to reach us from Japan. So it will be next week before we see any effect.”