Automakers facing parts shortage from recent recession
“A lot of them are under pressure because they reduced their staff and temporarily mothballed some of their factories,” according to Jim Gillette, an analyst with IHS Automotive. “A number of them are struggling to keep up at the moment.”
During the Lehman Shock, over 57 makers of original auto parts closed their doors or downsized considerably, resulting in the loss of over 100,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press report just yesterday.
The parts shortage will be most keenly felt if automakers begin to outpace the sales predictions for this year, but other events are conspiring to make the problem loom larger in the immediate future.
In a related Associated Press article April 16, a March 31 explosion in the German Plastics company Evonik was reported, that killed two workers and interrupted the manufacture of a product known as CDT or PA12, used to make components like fuel and brake lines. Shortages of this essential plastic resin may begin to show up as soon as the next few weeks.
“There’s a genuine concern if that happens, we’re going to certainly have some spot outages,” J. Scot Sharland, executive director of the Automotive Industry Action Group told Tom Krisher of the AP. “There’s still a significant amount of pent-up demand in the market.”
Such problems have already arisen for GM, who has slowed production of the Chevrolet Equinox SUV due to a parts shortage. The specific part was not identified but reportedly the automaker is telling dealers to reduce their expectations for four-cylinder Equinoxes, even thought the automaker may have found a way around the problem.