Toyota ‘likely’ to slow US production

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 21:44 EDT
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NEW YORK – Toyota on Wednesday said it was likely to slow production at some US plants due to a shortage of parts from quake-hit Japan.

“We told team members that production interruption is likely, but we don’t know how much, where or for how long,” said Toyota US spokesman Mike Goss.

“For now we continue to build vehicles in North America,” he added.

Toyota has already stopped assembly in Japan because of a shortage of necessary parts, with supply chains hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami, and subsequent power outages.

The automaker has reported a shortage of parts such as electronics devices and rubber and resin products.

It announced Tuesday that the resumption of car production in Japan would be delayed until after March 26.

Toyota US indicated the full impact of the disaster was yet to be felt.

“Currently, the greatest majority of parts for our North America-built vehicles come from approximately 500 suppliers in North America,” a statement said.

“Also, we continue to receive parts from Japan that were already in the pipeline, limiting the immediate impact.”

Edmunds.com analyst Michelle Krebs said the US production bottleneck is unlikely to be limited to Toyota and could spell higher prices for customers.

“These shutdowns likely are just the beginning,” she said, adding companies are still figuring out who supplies each and every part.

“The shortage of any one could shut down an assembly line.”

“Toyota isn’t the only one vulnerable; virtually all major automakers have some risks,” she said.

While demand for new cars has held steady, “We can be sure new car prices will go up as inventory thins out,” Krebs said.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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