We’ve already asked the cui bono question about Japan’s post-tsunami parts paralysis, and though opinions vary about precisely cui will be doing the bonoing, it’s clear that some are already doing better than others. For more clarity on the developing picture, hit the jump for TTAC’s roundup of the latest parts paralysis news.
Honda has reduced production at its North American sites by up to 50%. This could continue for, in the words of American Honda’s John Mendel “60 to 90 days,” Automotive News [sub] reports. Five of Honda’s six US plants have been operating at reduced capacity for a week now, and the chaos can continue, says Mendel, because of parts “as inconsequential as a speedometer needle.” He explains:
“We can’t drive up to these suppliers to ask what’s going on because there’s debris on the roads three meters deep. In some places, they are still recovering bodies. And even if you have a warehouse full of finished microchips, the roads are ruined, and you are in the radiation zone. What are you going to do?”
Honda ended March with a 47-day inventory, down from a 64-day supply at the beginning of the month. Honda has also already cut output in Canada, India, Mexico the Philippines and Turkey. Honda’s Swindon, UK plant is also operating at about 50% the planned rate.
GM has canceled two overtime shifts at its Arlington, Texas SUV plant that had been scheduled for tomorrow, reports the Detroit Free Press. This in addition to earlier shutdowns at Shreveport and Tonawanda, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky has been dispatched to Japan to meet with suppliers and get a handle on GM’s parts situation, reports Automotive News [sub]. GM has not yet announced the projected impact of the tsunami on its production, although Girsky could well report details to the media by the end of the week.
Chrysler has also suspended overtime at its Brampton, Ontario and Toluca, Mexico plants, reports the WSJ. A spokesperson explains that, like GM, the slowdowns are simply a precautionary measure at this point, saying
“We have not experienced any disruptions to regularly scheduled production as a result of the issues in Japan. We are, however, taking some planned overtime out of our production schedule in an effort to conserve supplier parts that are potentially impacted by the disaster.”
But that doesn’t mean everything is peachy in Chryslerland. In addition to inautonews.com‘s report that Chrysler is rationing Japanese-sourced rods and cams for its Pentastar V6, the WSJ adds
“Meanwhile, most U.S. auto makers have switched their plants away from using Xirallic-based paints. The production of Xirallic, an additive that provides a glitter effect in some auto paints, was shut down after the Japan plant where it is produced was damaged. Merck KGaA said it expects the plant to return to production in June. The plant is the only place in the world where Xirallic is made.
The loss of Xirallic is especially hard on Chrysler’s Fiat dealers, who are no longer accepting customer orders for cars painted in its bright red trademark colors known as Rosso Brillante.”
Toyota has no plans to reopen most of its Japanese production plants next week, reports even Xinhua in China. What will be open is explained here. In the U.S., Automotive News [sub] reports that Toyota is limiting the size of parts orders from its dealers in an effort conserve parts. AN [sub] also reports that Toyota’s struggles have also extended to the UK, where overtime has been canceled at an assembly plant in Burnaston, England, and an engine plant in Deeside, Wales. About two-thirds of Toyota’s Japan-based suppliers are experiencing production delays.
Nissan says it will also suspend production at its Sunderland, UK plant for three days this month due to parts supply interruptions.