Auto, Motorcycle dealers wait for word on parts from Japan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Auto, Motorcycle dealers wait for word on parts from Japan

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Toyota announced Thursday production will resume on three car models next week after plants were shuttered two weeks ago in the wake of the tsunami and earthquake.

Production of replacement parts resumed last week, but the trickle down could cause temporary shutdowns for some North American plants. Dealers in south Georgia still aren't sure how that will affect their inventory.

The problem isn't damage, but electricity to run plants in Japan. Thursday dealers said if more shut downs are necessary, manufacturers will likely shut down new production and focus on parts to service current customers.

In the Toyota of Albany Service Department on Ledo Road, it's business as usual and the showroom and lot is full. But there's concern because some of the component parts for these cars come from Japan.

"A lot of our electronic components and things that we need for every day production for domestic cars and import cars, there's a lot of help that comes in from the Japan market," said Mark Wamsley, Toyota of Albany General Manager.

So far they've been able to get what they need, but there's talk of sporadic production shutdowns for the entire US auto industry because of a shortage of microchips and other parts that were scarce before the earthquake.

"If there's a shortage issue they shut down manufacturing, to keep the supply house running for parts and after market things that's already been sold to the customers," said Wamsley.

So customers can continue getting their vehicles services. In Americus, Honda, Kawasaki, Sea-Doo of Americus is facing the same uncertainty.

"Probably after June will start telling the tale, I would imagine," said Mike Houston, Owner of Honda, Kawasaki, Sea-Doo of Americus.

That's because most dealers put in spring and summer orders months ago.

"What we're getting in now was ordered last fall, what we order in June and July will start coming in in the fall," said Houston.

That's likely when they'll find out what effect the damage done will have on their business and their effort to bring in new inventory.

At Toyota of Albany they expect the biggest disruption will be for those wanting a Prius. The car is manufactured solely in Japan, but they say while they service a lot of the vehicles, it's not a big selling model here in south Georgia.

General Motors halted production of pickups in Shreveport, Louisiana due to the shortage of Japanese parts. Local GM dealers here say it's had no impact so far.


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