Factory closures in Japan caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami has led to a shortage of vehicle parts which could cut global output by 600,000 vehicles by the end of the month, according to industry analysts.
With Japanese car manufacturers uncertain about when their plants will resume full production, this figure is likely to increase further.
Japanese manufactured parts are used all over the world and General Motors was forced to temporarily close a pick-up truck factory in Louisiana last week because of the shortage. It is expected that Toyota may also lower production at its own pick-up plant in San Antonio, Texas, as soon as next week.
Toyota, the world’s largest vehicle maker, has revealed lost output so far of 140,000 cars, with Honda losing production of 46,600 cars and trucks and 5,000 motorcycles. Mitsubishi’s production has been reduced by 15,000 vehicles.
Honda will see interruptions at its North American plants from April 1 because of the shortage of vital parts while Honda plants in Ohio, Alabama, Indiana, Canada and Mexico are all expected to be hit.
Mazda has suspended orders from US dealers because of the disruption caused to the supply of essential vehicle parts.
“We aren’t taking dealer orders as of right now,” a Mazda spokesman said. “We don’t think consumers will be actually affected by this because we have enough vehicles in inventory to last us for the immediate future.”
Vehicle paint is also in short supply after production of the pigment Xirallic was disrupted at a plant in Japan owned by Merck. This has led to some manufacturers suspending orders for vehicles in certain shades of black and red.
The pigment is only produced at one factory in the world, which was evacuated as it is just 28km from the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power station.
Source: Daily Telegraph