Honda's Japanese assembly plants are scheduled to come back online next week after a month-long hiatus caused by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11. That's good news for a company that could soon run short on many vehicles, but Honda's production woes are anything but solved.
TheDetroitBureau.com reports that Honda is also having trouble getting parts from Japan to plants here in the U.S., and the launch of the 2012 Civic could be impacted. The Civic, which is one of the most popular vehicles sold in the U.S., is supposed to begin a phased roll-out on April 20. But with parts trickling in from Japan at a snail's pace, some of the automaker's U.S. factories have experienced production slowdowns and shortened shifts. That means it would be difficult to supply enough '12 Civics to support the model's current sales pace of about 30,000 units per month. The automaker reportedly already has 12,000 Civics ready for delivery, but that number represents less than a two-week supply.
American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel tells TDB that the situation is "fluid," adding that it "is changing every day." With that in mind, Mendel says that the automaker might not spend as much launch money on marketing out of the gate. Instead, Honda could spend the money over a longer period of time, saving some of the ads for when dealers have proper stock of the latest Civic in showrooms.
We're hoping that Honda's part situation improves in time for launch, but given the current state of the supply chain, we're not all that hopeful. Add in the fact that another 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Japan on Thursday, April 7, and it seems production timing for many vehicles and parts could be in doubt for the foreseeable future.