TOKYO -- Nissan Motor Co.'s steel shortage at its Japanese plants will cut production of a small number of vehicles bound for the United States and Europe.
The shortage is causing Nissan to halt operations at three plants for five days, Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 6, 7 and 8. Production of 25,000 vehicles will be lost temporarily.
They include 820 of the FX35 and FX45 for the United States and 2,240 of the X-Trail, Pickup and Patrol for Europe. For the Japan market, 16,000 new or popular models such as the Tiida compact will be lost. The remaining 5,940 vehicles were bound for other overseas markets.
But Nissan will keep high margin products such as the Murano and Fuga in production, at the expense of some compacts such as the Tiida and Cube.
The automaker attributes the supply shortage mainly to stronger demand than expected for Japan market models. It plans to make up for the loss in early January by procuring steel from suppliers outside Japan.
Posco, South Korea's largest steelmaker, said it will supply steel to Nissan early next year. Last week, the Korean steelmaker received "an emergency request" from Nissan to supply steel to the Japanese automaker, said Oh Dong-Ho, a Posco spokesman. But it won't meet all of Nissan needs, he said, declining to discuss the volume of steel it will ship to Nissan.
Korean-produced steel could help the three plants - Oppama, Kyushu and Nissan Shatai - to raise output in early January to make up for the production loss with overtime work and weekend shifts.
A tight steel supply is squeezing other automakers as well. But they, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., have no plans to stop assembly lines at their plants.