THE PROBLEM: A fire on Wednesday at an auto parts plant northwest of Detroit has forced production cuts by two automakers and could spread to three others. So far General Motors Co. and Mazda Motor Corp. have closed plants, cut shifts or they have stopped making some models due to a parts shortage. The plant also makes parts for Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Nissan Motor Co., but so far they have not cut production.
THE REASON: Magna International Inc. had to close the fire-damaged plant near Howell, Mich., where interior parts are made. Changes that have made the auto industry more efficient mean there are few parts stockpiled at assembly plants. Many of the factories rely on the Howell factory for parts.
THE SOLUTION: Magna is looking at trying to reopen the damaged plant, moving its machinery to a nearby factory or finding a way to make the parts at other Magna factories.