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Automobiles

Suzuki to halt auto production at two plants in central Japan

Chip shortage puts worsening squeeze on carmakers

Suzuki has been forced to halt production of compact and mini "kei" cars at two plants in central Japan due to an ongoing lack of computer chips.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor will temporarily halt production at two of its three auto plants in Japan due to a shortage of semiconductors, Nikkei has learned, a sign of the growing headache the supply squeeze is causing the industry.

The decision comes amid continuing shortages of computer chips, as well as concerns over delays in procuring some parts.

The Japanese automaker will suspend production on Monday at its two factories in Shizuoka Prefecture. This is the first time Suzuki has had to shut down manufacturing due to the lack of semiconductors. The suspension will apply to its plant in Sagara, and one of the three production lines at its Kosai plant.

Suzuki has told Nikkei that "it has no plans to reduce [planned] production" for the time being, as it will operate the factories during holidays to make up for the suspension.

The Sagara plant makes compact cars such as the Swift and Solio models, while the Kosai factory makes so-called kei minicars, including the Jimny.

Suzuki's domestic production of passenger cars totaled 940,000 vehicles in the fiscal year ended March 2020. The two factories in Shizuoka produce about 80% of the automaker's output.

The automaker was forced to shut some lines at the Kosai plant for one day in February because an earthquake in northeastern Japan that month disrupted production at some of its business partners.

Other Japanese automakers, including Toyota Motor, Honda Motor, Nissan Motor, also halted operations due to parts shortages caused by a severe winter storm in North America.

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