GM production halted by Japan supply shortages

18 March 2011
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18 March 2011 | Angeline Albert

US carmaker General Motors is suffering from a scarcity of parts as a result of the earthquake in Japan.

Following the effects of the quake off Japan’s coast on 11 March, the company issued a statement on its decision yesterday to suspend production at its Shreveport assembly plant in Louisiana next week.

GM said: “We will resume production at Shreveport as soon as possible. At this point, we have sufficient vehicles to meet customer demand. Employees should use specified plant communication hotlines for updates about future production schedules.”

Infrastructure problems in Japan caused by interrupted energy supply, damaged buildings and transport links caused Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi to halt production at factories this week. 

Mitsubishi Motors suspended operations in three of its Japanese plants on 14 and 15 March and has now resumed production.

On 16 March, the Toyota Motor Corporation said: “In an effort to aid the repair of vehicles already on the market, we are planning to restart production of replacement parts on 17 March…[and for] overseas production (including knockdown parts) on 21 March.” The halt of domestic vehicle-production will continue until the end of 22 March.

Damage was widespread in Japan’s Tochigi area, where Honda Motor Company has manufacturing operations. From 14-20 March, Honda’s production activities in Japan were suspended. The company said: “We are assessing the long-term impact on Honda auto production in North America, since some parts are supplied from Japan. We currently have adequate inventory of products supplied from Japan.”

Nissan said yesterday in a statement: “Although all plants in Japan, except for the Iwaki engine plant, have been able to repair some damaged facilities, it is still taking time to arrange delivery of parts from our suppliers.”

It said Nissan Europe does not anticipate any short-term impact on sales or vehicle availability but “due to supply disruption in Japan, we anticipate some impact in the medium term but it is too soon to determine the extent of that impact”.

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