Japanese Earthquake Disruptions Hit North America; GM Idles Four Plants

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Four General Motors assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada will be closed temporarily due to supply chain disruptions caused by last week’s earthquakes in Japan.

The automaker announced today that four plants — Spring Hill, Tennessee; Lordstown, Ohio; Fairfax, Kansas; and Oshawa, Ontario — will be idled for two weeks starting on April 25.

The production schedule of those plants required an adjustment due to a quake-spawned parts supply issue.

Two powerful earthquakes hit the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on April 14 and 16, leading to major damage and disruption in the industry-heavy area. For the country’s domestic auto industry, Honda and Toyota were the most heavily impacted.

The GM plant shutdowns represent the first time the earthquake has directly affected North American workers.

“This temporary adjustment is not expected to have any material impact on GM’s full-year production plans in North America,” the automaker stated in a media release. “In addition, the company does not expect a material impact to its second quarter or full-year financial results for GM North America.”

GM’s Spring Hill plant builds the Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia, while the Lordstown complex makes the Chevrolet Cruze. The Buick LaCrosse and Chevrolet Malibu are manufactured at the Fairfax plant, and Oshawa produces the Buick Regal, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala and Equinox.

Join the conversation
  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Apr 22, 2016

    So, what parts of American-assembled cars are being impacted? Computer modules? Emissions sensors? Air bags? ABS systems? Are the parts available elsewhere, but two weeks are needed to shift the supply chain? Or is GM using the earthquake to justify a 2-week shutdown of four plants to get inventory under control? For a website with a name like TTAC, that last one would be the first one to be checked out and reported on, one way or the other.

    • Tekdemon Tekdemon on Apr 23, 2016

      All sorts of components are sourced from Japan so it'd be rather silly for TTAC to actually go and list out every part. Manufacturers from all over the world source components from Japan including major powertrain components so it's going to impact pretty much every manufacturer except maybe a few European makes.

  • Shaker Shaker on Apr 23, 2016

    There is an inherent reliance on approved suppliers to maintain quality and costs - you can have secondary suppliers, but the switchover would involve delays as well.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 23, 2016

    Do Japanese car makers depend on US made parts? I wonder why Trump and Sanders are so popular.

    • See 2 previous
    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 23, 2016

      @Lorenzo So then Trump or Sanders if elected are going to destroy American car industry. Or it is just a show - they bark but don't bite? Who could imaging Americans loosing their minds esp young ones. America looked like the last bastion of stability and prosperity in the world.

  • Mikey Mikey on Apr 25, 2016

    Just to keep the record straight. Oshawa Flex{ Regal, XTS and Epsilon Impala}, two shift, is in fact down for two weeks. Oshawa consolidated {W Impala, and Equinox ,} one shift, is not scheduled for any down time...yet. "W" Impala will "build out" early June 2016