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Japanese Continue Plant Shutdowns

Toyota has warned workers it may have to cut output in North America as a result of parts shortages.

Auto makers continue to extend plant shutdowns in Japan as a result of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that has damaged some facilities and is hampering parts supply lines.

Honda today announces it will suspend vehicle production at its Saitama, Suzuka and Yokkaichi plants at least another week until Sunday, April 3.

Suzuki said yesterday it would again idle its Kosai, Iwata and Sagara vehicle plants on March 24-25, but run its Toyokawa and Takatsuka motorcycle and motorcycle engine plants and Osuka foundry. It will decide over the weekend about operations from Monday, March 28.

Mazda, which resumed limited production at its Hiroshima and Hofu facilities on Tuesday, will again halt output beginning next Monday.

Mitsubishi has suspended production at its Okazaki and Mizushima plants. It had planned to produce Pajeros at its Sakahogi plant today. The auto maker has not announced its production schedule beyond that.

Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru), which renewed component output yesterday, says it will wait until the weekend to announce whether it will restart vehicle production at its main plants in Gumma prefecture.

Daihatsu, which began limited production at its Oita plant Tuesday, will continue limited output through at least March 29. On March 28-29, it will begin operations at its Shiga plant, also on a limited basis.

No operational plans have been announced beyond March 29, and the auto maker continues to idle its Ikeda and Kyoto plants, both of which produce vehicles for Toyota.

Isuzu, which earlier signaled its Fujisawa and Tochigi plants are ready to resume production, has yet to disclose a startup date. The plants will begin output of replacement parts on Monday.

Hino, Toyota’s truck-making subsidiary, has moved back production startup at its Hamura plant until April 1 at the earliest. A decision will be made next week.

A Toyota spokesman tells Bloomberg the auto maker has advised workers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that production cuts may be needed as a result of parts shortages. Reuters reports a shutdown of the San Antonio truck plant is likely.

The company also says it will delay launch of the Prius V, a wagon version of the popular hybrid model. It was to hit the Japanese market in April. However, production of the Prius, Lexus HS 250 and Lexus CT 200h hybrids is scheduled to resume Monday.

Nissan says it will continue regular production schedules in North America at least through April 1. It also is studying whether its Decherd, TN, engine plant can supply Japan with VQ V-6s to make up for lost production at the auto maker’s Iwaki facility that was damaged by the quake.

Battery production for the Leaf electric vehicle resumed today at plants in Oppama and Zama, Japan, Nissan says. “The ability to sustain production will depend to a large degree on the frequency of rolling blackouts due to electricity shortages,” the auto maker says in a prepared statement.

– with Ward’s staff

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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