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Carmakers curb parts orders, output

Toyota showroom in Tokyo is temporarily closed due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Toyota showroom in Tokyo is temporarily closed due to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. (Itsuo Inouye/Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 30, 2011

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DETROIT — Shortages of auto parts from Japan are hitting Honda and Toyota’s North American operations.

Toyota Motor Corp. yesterday said it wants its US car dealers to stop ordering more than 200 replacement parts made in Japan because it’s worried about running out. Honda Motor Co. said it will temporarily cut production at its North American factories starting today due to shortages.

Industry analysts expect many automakers to run into shortages because supply factories in Japan were damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Several automakers already have been forced to cut production. Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Co., and others have stopped taking orders for certain paint colors because a specialized pigment factory hasn’t been able to come back on line.

Toyota has told dealers they can’t order 233 parts for Lexus, Scion, and Toyota models unless they have a customer who needs one for a repair.

Toyota said that its overall parts inventory is adequate. But it has restricted orders of some Japanese components made at more severely damaged plants to make sure they remain available.

Dealers said the parts include brake rotors, body panels, and shock absorbers. They mainly are for the Prius gas-electric hybrid and hybrid versions of the Highlander SUV, and the Camry.