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North American vehicle production grows despite Japan parts shortage

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March 25, 2011 — North American vehicle production is well ahead of last year, a trend that is expected to continue despite parts shortages caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, J.D. Power and Associates said in a report release_notesd Thursday.

First quarter production is expected to hit 3.3 million, 14 percent higher than the same time period last year, the report states. In February, more than a million vehicles were produced, a 15 percent increase over the same month in 2010.

That’s despite reduced production time from some vehicle manufacturers since the Japan disaster. Several manufacturers have eliminated overtime and Saturday production shifts, the report stated. General Motors also halted its Shreveport, La., facility until parts availability from Japan improves.

“With the uncertainty remaining high about the full extent of the parts supply situation, North American production could be impacted in the weeks to come,” said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, our 2011 production forecast remains at 12.9 million units, as we expect any lost volume would be made up later in the year.”

Vehicle sales continue to grow in 2011, the report also found. But that sales strength combined with Japan’s supply constraints will likely mean a drop in inventory during the next few months, the report said.

The full report is available here.

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