DETROIT -- General Motors has re-sourced many parts affected by the crisis in Japan but isn't yet out of the woods, a Wall Street analyst said today, citing a GM executive.
GM CFO Dan Ammann briefed analysts on the automaker's response to the Japan disaster during a dinner Thursday, Barclays Capital analyst Brian Johnson said in a note sent to investors today.
Ammann told analysts that GM has a crisis team of "several hundred employees" who are identifying at-risk components and finding replacements for affected parts, Johnson said in his note.
GM spokeswoman Reneé Rashid-Merem said only a "small number" of employees are on the ground in Japan. The crisis team consists of GM staffers in purchasing, manufacturing and supply chain management, although most of those people are working on the matter in the course of their normal job duties.
"It's a cross-functional team that is closely monitoring the situation and making changes as necessary," she said.
Many team members are on site at Japanese supplier plants "to assist with restarting/resourcing component production and to ensure that GM is treated fairly vis-à-vis Japanese automakers for share of component inventory," Johnson wrote.
Ammann said that concerns over short supplies from Japan are likely to result in higher pricing industrywide, Johnson said.
"GM believes the inventory constraints can not only reduce incentives in the near term, but also potentially set up another round of price increases," Johnson wrote. Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. recently said they would raise some vehicle prices.
Ammann's remarks were GM's most extensive public comments about how it is responding to the threat of parts shortages stemming from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear power-plant crisis.
Earlier this week, GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky told a Japanese newspaper that the automaker has set up a task force to help troubled Japanese suppliers keep running. But GM said it wouldn't give more details about how it's helping suppliers or how many Japanese parts makers need help.
GM has completed a "thorough review" of its Tier 1 suppliers and is assessing the situation at smaller suppliers, Johnson wrote. The supply of semiconductors is a key concern, but GM turned up "no major issues" among its Tier 1 suppliers.
GM is classifying each part into one of five categories, the analyst said:
1. Unaffected parts
2. Parts from plants that are affected but can be reopened soon
3. Parts from plants that will take longer to reopen, but have adequate inventory that can be shipped to meet GM's production schedules
4. Parts whose production will need to be moved to a different facility run by the same supplier
5. Parts that must be re-sourced to a different supplier
Ammann didn't tell analysts how many parts are in each category.
Parts shortages from Japan have had little effect on GM's production. Last month, it idled its Shreveport, La., compact pickup plant for a week because of an undisclosed parts problem.