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Most domestic automaker assembly plants traditionally take a couple of weeks off during the summer. The shutdowns give each plant time for much needed repairs and maintenance, and in some cases, help better align production with demand. Not this year, though, as demand for many models is outstripping what Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plants can produce.

Automotive News is reporting that Mazda has suspended U.S. dealers from ordering vehicles made in Japan. The automaker is apparently preparing to close down plants once more after briefly opening doors after the earthquake and tsunami activity on March 11.

Toyota execs must think they're living in the Bizarro World. Think about it: operating losses, plunging sales -- these were terms once reserved for its lowly competitors. Not anymore. Now, Toyota's feeling the sting of a down market along with everyone else and is taking steps to try and stop the bleeding. An already-planned 3-day production freeze this month at all of Toyota's Japanese manufacturing plants has now swelled to include 11 more days in February and March. Toyota's hoping to scale b

Is Nissan's turnaround about to go back on the downswing? So asks Automotive News today as it reports that Nissan was down over seven percent in May (Infiniti over 11 percent) and has scheduled its Smyrna, Tenn., and Canton, Miss. plants to go idle for an additional six days to cut inventory. What's more is that two Japanese plants that make Infinitis for the North American market are also cutting back on production. As a result, many observers note that Nissan just isn't exp