DETROIT -- As auto sales collapsed, not even Honda could tap the brakes on its North American production fast enough to prevent a huge backlog of unsold cars from piling up.
About 5,000 Hondas are parked at Ford Motor Co.'s now shuttered Lorain, Ohio, assembly plant. The vehicles being stored are Civic and Accord cars, Acura MDX crossovers and Honda Odyssey minivans, models Honda builds in the United States and Canada.
"We overproduced slightly in November and December as the market was falling," said Honda spokesman Ed Miller. He said the number of vehicles in storage has been declining because Honda has cut back production, and dealers will replenish their inventories.
The unsold Hondas landed at the Ford plant, Miller said, because it has rail access and is close to major highways. Honda usually ships cars by rail soon after they are built, Miller said.
Honda also is storing vehicles in other parts of the country near the company's plants, Miller said. If sales improve, Honda's unsold cars in storage could be history by this summer. Miller said the total number of vehicles in storage is less than a full day's production when Honda's U.S. plants are running at full capacity.
"It's not a huge problem," Miller said. "We won't need the overflow area after about June."
Ford's Lorain plant, west of Cleveland in northeast Ohio, built the Econoline van before it closed in 2005.