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Auto pinches possible

Around the world, many automotive plants are being forced to reduce production due to the 9.0 earthquake which struck the northeastern part of Japan a little over a week ago.  The reason for these far-reaching effects is that Japan is home to hundreds of auto parts manufacturers who supply to every major automaker, not just Japanese brands.  Much of the electronics used in cars are produced in Japan.  If these electronics aren't being produced, then the demand for compliant pins, electrical connectors, and PCB enclosures will be reduced accordingly.  If all parts are not on hand, the entire vehicle cannot be assembled.

For example, General Motors is being forced to halt production at its plant in Shreveport, Louisiana because the pickups it produces there use a Japanese-made transmission.  Most plants have two to six weeks' worth of supplies now, but these will eventually dwindle if Japan cannot get up and running soon.  Car makers are scrambling to find other suppliers from their networks.  Some observers are wondering if Japanese companies will loose market share to competitors permanently.

Sunstone Components Group, a Temecula based precision metal stamper and insert molder that makes parts for automotive safety systems, is hoping the situation in Japan stabilizes before any major shortages occur.  The owner and CEO, Brad Adams, said there is not much that can be done in the short-term.  "Most companies' products, like ours, use specialty tooling," Adams said.  "It would take quite a while, months at best, to retool.  So in most cases, the best scenario is to get production in Japan up and running again."

Read the article from the Press Enterprise here:
Auto pinches possible