Honda adds 2 weeks to factory slowdowns

AP News
Posted: Apr 15, 2011 4:39 PM
Honda adds 2 weeks to factory slowdowns

Honda Motor Co. will slow down production at its 10 U.S. and Canadian auto factories into at least early May because it's running short of parts made at earthquake-damaged factories in Japan.

The company said Friday that it's extending the cuts through May 6, and it expects more disruptions after that.

The slowdowns, which could reduce output at its plants by up to 50 percent, are likely to cause shortages of Honda vehicles in a matter of weeks. Honda's Japanese factories are running at half capacity, and the company's president has said it could take a few months to return to full production.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami damaged factories that make key auto parts, affecting nearly all automakers.

Other automakers, especially those based in Japan, also have been forced to cut production, and dealers are predicting model shortages will begin soon.

Honda said in late March that it would shut down North American assembly lines for several hours a day through at least April 22 because of parts shortages from Japan.

A Honda plant that makes parts for North American factories began running again on April 4, but only at half its normal output.

Honda said it is trying to get its factories back to normal as soon as possible.

The company says none of its 21,000 North American factory workers will be laid off.

Honda has said more than 80 percent of Honda and Acura parts sold in the U.S. are produced in North America, but some key parts are made in Japan.