Global vehicle production could drop by 5 million


News reports out of Tokyo this week indicate the problems surrounding the global auto industry in the wake of the disaster that devastated northeastern Japan are going to worsen.

“This is the biggest impact ever in the history of the automobile industry,” Koji Endo, managing director at Advanced Research Japan in Tokyo told The Associated Press.

While production at some automakers’ facilities have been brought back online, suppliers of many of the components those vehicles need has been halted or severely impacted.

The looming parts shortage is apparently affecting everything from chemicals in paint to computer parts.

Sources from IHS Automotive were quoted as forecasting as much as one-third of “daily global automotive production” could be cut. That translates to roughly 5 million vehicles worldwide, according to The Associated Press.

Nissan said in a release posted on its website it would continue with regular North American manufacturing operations through till April 1, noting the supply chain is being “continuously assessed.”

Honda, which had previously announced the suspension of Japanese production through March 27, has extend the suspension of the production of finished units of automobiles at Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory and Suzuka Factory through April 3.

“Concerning operations from April 4 on, Honda will make decisions based on the status of the recovery of Japanese society as a whole as well as the supply of parts.”

While the automaker says most of its Japan-based suppliers are making progress to restart production, there are a few suppliers that have yet to resolve the challenge to resuming operations.

Honda is also conceding that because of concerns related to the supply of a few critical parts, there is likelihood North American production will experience some temporary interruptions after March 24.

Honda also wanted to set the record straight regarding its Japan-based production of vehicles intended for sale in the U.S. Erroneous reports by certain U.S. news outlets reported Japan-based production of vehicles would be suspended until May.

“Honda has announced a suspension of Japanese production only through April 3, 2011.”

- With files from The Associated Press