Nissan could shift some production to US

DETROIT (AP) — Nissan Motor Co. said Thursday it is considering moving some engine production from Japan to the U.S. because of earthquake damage to a Japanese plant, another illustration of how seriously the disaster has upended the global network of auto supplies.

Car factories could face serious shortages of Japanese parts by the middle of next month unless Japan’s auto industry can quickly restart its shuttered production following a devastating earthquake and tsunami March 11, experts say.

As stockpiles of parts from Japan run low in the coming weeks, some North American plants are bracing for shutdowns. Toyota has warned workers it may idle operations.

“The impact of the supply shortage will begin to be felt more intensely by global automakers by the middle of next month,” Paul Newton, auto analyst with research firm IHS Automotive, said Thursday.

Supply disruptions in Japan generally are felt by U.S manufacturers three to four weeks later, depending on a company’s stockpiles, Newton said. That’s because of the time it takes to ship parts from across the globe. So shortages caused by Japan’s March 11 disaster could hit the U.S. by mid-April.

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