Ford stops PH production for 18 days

Posted at 04/13/11 7:40 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Ford Group Philippines is suspending production in its Santa Rosa, Laguna, plant for 18 working days beginning April 11 as part of its moves to minimize the effects of the disaster in Japan in its future operations.

These down days include those that have already been scheduled for the rest of the year, but were pulled ahead of schedule.

“Starting this week, we are pulling ahead 18 previously scheduled down days at our Santa Rosa manufacturing facility in the Philippines as a precautionary move to ensure we have parts availability going forward. The down days include an already planned weeklong shutdown for the Easter holiday in the Philippines,” Anika Salceda-Wycoco, Ford Group Philippines assistant vice president, said.

She said the company will resume manufacturing operations on May 9. Ford doesn’t have any production facilities in Japan but, like other automakers, does source parts from suppliers that were hurt by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

In a regulatory filing in the US on Monday Ford Motor Co. said that its Asia-Pacific operations may have to slow or stop production because of parts shortages from Japan.

Ford has had to temporarily halt operations in the US and Europe because of shortages, but this was the first word of possible production cuts in Asia. Ford has 13 plants in its Asia-Pacific region, including eight assembly plants in Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, China and the Philippines.

Wycoco did not say if there will be more down times for the remainder of the year. “We cannot say yet if there will be more down days. It depends on the demand of our customers, including those in our export markets,” she said.

Ford is the only exporter of completely built automotives in the Philippines today. It exported 1,816 units in different Southeast Asian countries in the first quarter of the year.

The company, Wycoco said, is now also working with its suppliers and counterparts in the region on a daily basis to minimize any disruption “and are acting proactively and decisively to stay ahead of the situation.”

Despite the situation, Wycoco said the company does not see any major impact in its overall performance for the year.

The March 11 earthquake and tsunami have disrupted the global auto industry, which relies in part on components manufactured in northeastern Japan—the region worst hit by the disasters.

Last week Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) announced it is reducing its auto production by half because of difficulties in getting spare parts from Japan.

Honda’s Philippine plant in Santa Rosa, Laguna, produces about 15,000 vehicles a year. It was opened in 1992 and employs about 700 people.

HCPI says the facility produces the Honda City and Honda Civic models. Its PR department said it not known until when this reduced production schedule will be implemented.

And in the United States Toyota Motor Corp. told its US dealers that new vehicles could be in short supply this summer because of production slowdowns in Japan and North America.

In a memo to dealers obtained on Monday by The Associated Press, Toyota’s US general manager Bob Carter said Toyota is producing cars and trucks at significantly reduced levels in April and hasn’t set its production schedule for May through July.

“The potential exists that supply of new vehicles could be significantly impacted this summer,” Carter said in the memo.

In Japan, Toyota plans to resume production at all its factories from April 18 through April 27, but only at half their normal volume. The Japanese plants will then shut down through May 10 for an annual holiday break. -- (With AP)