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Honda delays redesigned CR-V, warns dealers of more model shortages

Mon, 02 May 2011 00:00:00 -0700

Honda Motor Co. on Monday warned dealers of more vehicle shortages and said it would delay the fall launch of its redesigned CR-V crossover.

American Honda Motor Co. Executive Vice President John Mendel told dealers in a memo that the automaker would fill March and April orders for Japan-built vehicles with May and June production. After that, the supply of vehicles from Japan will be restricted.

"Due to the limited parts supply we will bring in only a very limited number of Japan-built vehicles for the remainder of the year," Mendel said in the memo.

Affected vehicles include the Fit, CR-Z, Insight and Civic Hybrid, which will be unavailable for order until later in the year.

Dealers were told to prepare for "severely limited" inventories during summer, with colors and trim levels preselected by the automaker.

Honda also said it would reduce output of the redesigned 2012 Civic through the summer. Mendel told dealers that they would continue to receive product but it would be restricted to certain models.

In addition, Honda will delay the fall launch of the 2012 CR-V by at least one month, according to the memo. To prevent a production gap, the automaker will extend output of the 2011 CR-V.

Last month, Honda warned that production would not return to normal until year end.

In Japan, Honda's output will continue at 50 percent of capacity through June, the automaker said. Outside Japan, production plans will be made case-by-case based on parts availability. The automaker also has restricted dealer allocations for certain vehicle colors due to paint pigment shortages.

"Future orders will need to be adjusted to reflect the availability of suitable replacement paints," Mendel's memo said.

Honda, like Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, uses paint with pigments made by German supplier Merck KGaA. A key Merck factory in Japan that produces the material has been offline since the March 11 earthquake because it is too close to a nuclear reactor crippled by the quake. It is the sole producer of a pigment called Xirallic, which is used to give metallic paints a glistening look.

In a move Honda says is "independent from the current parts supply situation," the automaker will shuffle its production lineup at U.S. assembly plants starting next year.

In 2012, Honda will shift output of the Acura RDX from Marysville, Ohio, to East Liberty, Ohio. The Honda CR-V will be added to the lineup at Alliston, Ontario, next year. In 2013, the Acura MDX will move from Alliston to Lincoln, Ala.

After the earthquake, Honda resumed limited vehicle output on April 11 at its Sayama and Suzuka plants. The Sayama site builds the Honda CR-V, Accord and Fit, as well as the Acura RL and TSX. The Suzuka plant assembles the Honda Fit, Civic, Civic Hybrid, Insight and CR-Z.

In North America, Honda has extended production cuts at eight U.S. and Canadian factories through Friday, May 6, with output varying at each plant. Honda originally planned for the production cuts to run through April 22.

More production cuts have been made in the United Kingdom and India.

By Laur