Japan earthquake and tsunami continue to send shock waves through American auto industry
Shortages could cripple U.S. production
6:40 PM, Mar 28, 2011
(WXYZ) - The effects of the earthquake and giant tsunami are continuing
to ripple through Japan's auto industry and the American auto
industry as well.
Chrysler and Ford are both limiting orders of vehicles in
certain colors because of a shortage of paint pigments. General
Motors also idled its pick-up truck plant in Shreveport, Louisiana
to conserve valuable computer chips.
John McElroy of AutoLine Detroit tells Action News that the
paint shortage is an inconvenience but the shortage of computer
chips is a serious problem. McElroy says "If they don't have the
computer chips that control the engine, they can't even drive the
vehicle off the line."
McElroy says that if it was something small like a jack or spare
tire, they could still build the vehicles and wait for the
components, but the chips are integral to the production.
Bob Page of Page Toyota tells Action News that supplies of the
popular Toyota Prius are starting to dwindle. Page says "we are
down to an 18 or 19 day supply, primarily because of the high
demand because of gas prices."
Page goes on to say "we used to be able to trade with other
dealers to get exactly what the customer wants, but that is getting
harder and harder to do because every car is presold before we get