Winter storms shut down production at auto plants

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An SUV snowed in almost completely during a snowstorm.

Think you're having a bad winter? Imagine being an auto parts delivery driver. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Jared and Corin/Flickr)

Intense winter storms have slowed road traffic to a crawl in the northeastern U.S., and this includes commercial deliveries of automotive parts. Automotive News reports that because of a lack of staff and supplies, numerous North American plants have halted production schedules as blizzards roar through the Northeast and Midwest.

Icy roads lead to missed shifts, parts shortages

First shifts at 12 Chrysler plants were called off because of parts shortages, although some later shifts began on schedule. Four Ford plants suffered from similar shortages, while trucks have had a difficult time reaching Subaru and Toyota plants because of road conditions. While no reports of parts shortages have come out of General Motors or Honda, the automakers admit it could become an issue if blizzard conditions persist.

According to Neil De Koker, CEO of the Original Equipment Supplier Association, delivery of parts is indeed the problem, as opposed to production.

“A number of parts are just-in-time delivery and even if you are making parts, if the roads are bad, it’s difficult to get it delivered,” he said.

Winter storms in and around Indiana and Ohio – accompanied by freezing rain – have been particularly troublesome for automotive plants in the Midwest. Yet other auto parts suppliers like Robert Bosch, LLC, the U.S. arm of German parent company Robert Bosch GmhH, are up and running in Charleston, S.C., and Farmington Hills, Mich. The speed of part delivery depends entirely upon where customers are located in relation to the blizzards, said company spokeswoman Becky MacDonald.

Snow day is catch-up day

Northeast and Midwest blizzards have made going outside tough for everyone, but De Koker told Automotive News that there could be a positive way of looking at the run of extreme winter weather. Some suppliers may be behind on production. Many auto plants were already facing parts shortages before the storms, so the freeze in the action is a frosty blessing in disguise.


Automotive News

The definition of being snowed in

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