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Honda Up, Ford Down as Parts Shortages Spreads

Japanese maker resuming some production, Ford idling pickup, two European plants.

by on Apr.01, 2011

Ford will idle an F-Series pickup plant next week, as well as a facility in Belgium, due to shortages of Japanese-made parts.

Ford Motor Co. will be forced to idled a pickup truck plant in Louisville, KY next week due to a shortage of Japanese-made parts.

The announcement comes even as some Japanese assembly lines begin to roll again.  Honda plans to resume production in its home market starting April 11, though because of the damage done to the Japanese parts supply network those plants will initially operate at only about half their rated capacity through at least April 15th.

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The earthquake and tsunami of March 11th brought many Japanese suppliers to a grinding halt – though direct damage to assembly plants in Japan was relatively limited.  But the subsequent problem with the Fukushima nuclear plant has complicated matters, forcing Japanese suppliers and automakers alike to curb production due to rolling blackouts that have spread across much of the country.

Automakers have so far loss several hundred thousand units of capacity in Japan alone, according to various analysts, Deutsche Bank estimating that all the Japanese automakers will now lose money during the first half of the fiscal year that began today.

“There’s no doubt financial results will be influenced by the earthquake,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda acknowledged during a meeting with reporters at the company’s headquarters in Toyota City, Japan, on Friday. “Ports, industrial complexes and roads are destroyed.”

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