Workers give the final check on Yaris compact sedans, set for export to North America, on an assembly line at a Toyota Motor Co. plant in Ohira in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan. - AP

Parts shortages hit U.S.

TOYOTA CITY, Japan — Parts shortages are spreading to U.S. assembly and repair operations of Japanese automakers, The Wall Street Journal reported in today's edition.

Toyota Motor Corp. warned its U.S. dealers that they face a shortage of some replacement parts while Honda Motor Co. and Subaru of America this week said they would curb US assembly operations to conserve parts.

Toyota said production of most replacement parts resumed in Japan on March 17, and shipments to the U.S. restarted shortly after that. However, the company has identified 233 replacement parts that are made by suppliers who sustained significant damage to plants in Japan from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Production of these parts will not resume for "at least 30 days," the company said in a memo to dealers. It added that "both the number of affected parts and length of production stoppage may increase."

Honda declined to say how much it would cut production or which plants are affected. It will reduce the hours that the affected plants operate each day. It has North American plants in Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Ontario, Canada, and Jalisco, Mexico.

Honda has kept all of its plants closed in Japan since the quake and will not restart production until at least Sunday. Honda has canceled all dealer orders for May delivery for vehicles built in Japan.

Subaru, owned by Fuji Heavy Industry Ltd., said it will halve the work hours for each shift at its Lafayette, Ind., plant today through Friday. The plant employs some 3,500 workers and makes the Tribeca, Outback and Legacy vehicles.

On Tuesday, Toyota said it is conserving existing stocks of replacement parts. "We have put these parts on a controlled allocation. It is just to ensure we can continue to meet customer need and true customer demand," said spokesman Steve Curtis. He said there has not yet been a problem getting replacement parts to its U.S. dealers.

Parts affected include shock absorbers, radiator supports, fender components, tail gate hinges and oil seals.

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