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Honda production effects to continue for at least two weeks

Possible interruptions in automotive production at Honda’s North American plants will continue for at least two weeks, the company announced Thursday.

Earlier this week, the automaker announced temporary production interruptions because Japanese suppliers have been unable to make critical engine and electrical components since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Honda says the rollbacks in production will continue until at least April 15 and vary from plant to plant depending upon parts availability. The automaker hopes the plans will minimize the impact on workers.

The plan to reduce production here in North America mirrors strategies used in 2009 when an economic collapse severely cut the demand for new automobiles.

As an example, assembly lines could run just half a normal day. Associates would have the option of staying at the plants and working on equipment maintenance, training and developing better production techniques or taking time off, either as vacation or unpaid without penalty.

It is possible the plan will remain in place after April 15 depending on the flow of parts.

Honda of America Manufacturing Co. Inc. spokesman Ron Lietzke pointed out the manufacturer has an inventory of parts to cover its current production plans.

As parts start to come out of Japanese sources, the company will evaluate the best methods for getting parts to the North American plants at the right time.

In Japan, production of component parts for North American plants will resume Monday at several Honda plants at 50 percent of normal levels.

Honda has said from the onset it will make decisions based on the status of the recovery of Japanese society as a whole, as well as the supply of parts.

There remain questions relating to the supply of parts manufactured by other suppliers in Japan and shipped directly from suppliers in Japan to Honda’s suppliers in North America.

Beginning April 11, limited production of finished automobiles will resume at the Sayama Plant at Saitama Factory and the Suzuka Factory, which will bring all Honda auto plants in Japan back into production.

American Honda has established a special Web site to channel donations to the American Red Cross from customers, suppliers and others interested in supporting the Japan disaster recovery effort.

Originally established to accept donations from Honda and Acura automobile dealers, and Honda motorcycle and power equipment dealers, the company has opened the site to the public who may wish to donate at: http://american.redcross.org/hondaacura-emp

Honda views the system as an appropriate and efficient way to help.

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