Toyota restricts parts orders; Honda cuts output
POSTED: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 - 4:53pm
UPDATED: Saturday, June 4, 2011 - 1:22am
DETROIT – Shortages of auto parts from Japan are hitting Honda and Toyota's North American operations.
Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday said it wants its U.S. car dealers to stop ordering more than 200 replacement parts made in Japan because it's worried about running out of them. Honda Motor Co. said it will temporarily cut production at its North American auto factories starting Wednesday due to shortages.
Industry analysts expect many automakers to run into shortages because supply factories in Japan were damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Several automakers already have been forced to cut production. Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co. and others have stopped taking orders for certain paint colors because a specialized pigment factory hasn't been able to come back on line.
Toyota has told dealers they can't order 233 parts for Lexus, Scion and Toyota models unless they have a customer who needs one for a repair.
Toyota said that its overall parts inventory is adequate. But it has restricted orders of some Japanese components made at more severely damaged plants to make sure they remain available.
"We are asking the dealers to refrain from ordering parts in excess of what they need," Toyota spokesman Steve Curtis said Tuesday.
Dealers said the parts include brake rotors, body panels, shock absorbers and other components. They mainly are for the Prius gas-electric hybrid and hybrid versions of the Highlander SUV, and the Camry midsize sedan. Curtis said he did not know specifically which models were affected.
Production of most replacement parts resumed in Japan on March 17, and Toyota began shipping them to the U.S. soon after, Toyota's said.
Curtis said Toyota currently has more than 300,000 parts. He did not know how many replacement parts are made in Japan.
About 70 percent of Toyota cars and trucks sold in the U.S. are built in North America, and roughly three out of four parts in those vehicles come from factories in the region, Toyota said.
Parts managers at some dealerships may have ordered additional parts made in Japan in anticipation of shortages, and those orders could cause Toyota to run short, said Earl Stewart, who owns a Toyota dealership in North Palm Beach, Florida.
"It's not necessarily being a bad guy. It's just doing your job," Stewart said. "If everybody decides to stock up in advance, it's kind of like hoarding and suddenly there's a shortage."
Honda said it will keep all its North American plants open, but it will cut the number of hours that some assembly lines operate each day. Cuts will vary by plant and model.
Honda's factories can remain open because most of the parts for cars built in North America come from the region. But the company said it gets a small number of parts from Japan.
The company didn't say which North American plants would cut production or what models they make. Honda has factories in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia and Canada.