WASHINGTON – Honda Motor Co.'s North American plants could be operating at sharply reduced output for the next three months as the auto industry struggles to rebuild supply lines following the earthquake in Japan, the automaker's top U.S. sales executive warned.
John Mendel, American Honda Motor Co. executive vice president, said today he foresees parts shortages having an impact on the automaker's North American plants for "60 to 90 days ... that's my working number for now."
In a best-case scenario, Mendel added, the production cutbacks could be as short as 30 days.
Last week, Honda reduced production at five of its six North American plants by as much as half because of a shortage of parts from suppliers damaged in the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
About 90 percent of the vehicles Honda sells in the United States are assembled in North America, and 600 of its 710 main suppliers are based here.
But Mendel said that something as inconsequential as a missing speedometer needle can stop an assembly line.