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Honda cuts output at 2 Japan plants on China parts shortage

Nissan and Mazda also scale back as coronavirus disrupts supply

A Honda factory in Yorii, Saitama Prefecture is seen manufacturing a subcompact Fit. Production at this Japanese plant will be cut back. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi) 

TOKYO -- Honda Motor will temporarily cut back production at home due to difficulty sourcing parts from China amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Japanese automaker will reduce output by a few hundred vehicles at two plants in Saitama Prefecture. The cutbacks will last for a few days beginning early this month.

The facilities produce the Vezel sport utility vehicle and the Odyssey minivan. But in recent weeks, "components for items such as brakes and doors have shown signs of shortages," said an executive at a parts supplier.

Honda operates three assembly plants in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus crisis. Many parts makers have a presence in the area.

Honda expects to restart production in Wuhan as early as March 11, but inventories of Chinese-made components are depleted for some models.

"Deliveries are starting to be delayed for the Fit [subcompact] and other models," said a source at a dealer.

Other Japanese automakers have also adjusted production in light of the disrupted supply from China, which accounts for more than 30% of imported parts.

Nissan Motor is suspending Saturday and Sunday production at a subsidiary plant in Fukuoka Prefecture this month. The facility scaled back production on four days in February, reducing output by several thousand vehicles. Another subsidiary's plant in Kanagawa Prefecture will suspend operations on two days in March. 

Mazda Motor has pushed back production for several models. With some of its imported parts produced in virus-hit Hubei Province, the automaker may consider alternate suppliers if the disruption continues.

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