Honda Extends Halt in Japan Production

Honda Extends Halt in Japan Production

Honda Motor Co. said it will extend a halt in its Japanese production by three days, through Wednesday, and warned U.S. dealers it is not sure it will be able to resume full production at plants in Japan before May.

Honda distributed a memo to U.S. dealers saying it would review each dealer's product allotments for vehicles to be built after May. Honda makes 22 percent of its vehicles in Japan.

Mazda Motor Corp. said it will reopen plants in Hofu and Hiroshima on Tuesday in a "temporary resumption of operations" and will decide later when to resume full production of parts and vehicles.

Automakers are struggling to resume production in Japan amid a shortage of parts and workers in the wake of last week's earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant shutdowns that have disrupted electricity supplies.

Japan's automotive supply chain problems have reached across the Pacific to the United States, where General Motors said it would close a pickup truck assembly plant in Shreveport, La., next week because of a parts shortage.

Although Japanese-owned U.S. assembly plants rely primarily on parts made in North America, they and other automakers' factories also rely on supply chains of parts made in Japan.

Toyota and Subaru have suspended overtime production at their U.S. plants in order to conserve parts supplies in the wake of plant shutdowns in Japan. Those automakers haven't cut U.S. production but Toyota's Japanese assembly plants, which produce 43 percent of the automaker's worldwide production, were to be closed through the weekend.

Toyota's popular Prius hybrid car is assembled in Japan at a plant near Tokyo but the factory uses batteries made in a factory near Sendai. Neither plant was damaged in the quake but production has been halted by disruptions to power supplies.

-- Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com.