As earthquake-damaged Japanese automakers and suppliers struggle to increase production, executives say the industry faces a fitful ramp-up that will limit consumer choices for months.
Scattered shortages, such as certain paint pigments, already are doing that. Now, as more vehicles come back online, some trim levels, option packages and colors won't be available.
Andy Palmer, Nissan executive vice president for global product planning, said Nissan already is shifting from the "pull" system, in which cars are built only after receiving a customer's order.
"We've moved toward more of a push type production system, as opposed to the traditional Japanese pull," Palmer said in an interview in Shanghai.
"If we can build a car, we build a car. And then we put that into the distribution network and go try to match it to a customer."