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Throughout The Car Industry

Automakers Resume Operations During Winter Storm

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On: Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 11:14AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Automakers Resume Operations During Winter Storm

In the last couple of days, the big story across most of America has been snow, snow, and more snow. Pretty much the only happy folks were all the kids who got to stay home from school. If school buses can’t navigate the roads then it’s a safe bet that most trucks are idled as well. Without trucks there can be not auto parts deliveries. Without auto parts assembly workers have nothing to assemble. That is the circle of life in the auto world. Fortunately, the plows and salt trucks have been working around the clock to clear the roads and the auto makers in the northeast are back on line.

Chrysler, GM, Ford, Honda, and Toyota plants in Michigan and Indiana took direct hits from the storm. First shifts in 26 of those plants were canceled, but they managed to get back into gear for second and third shifts.

Just because the factory doors were opened again doesn't mean that adjustments didn’t have to be made. Over at the Subaru plant in Lafayette all the first shift workers got to start their day at 8 a.m. as opposed to their normal 6 a.m. That plants rolls out the Outback, Legacy, Tribeca, and the Toyota Camry. Plant spokeswoman Jennifer McGarvey let everyone who was listening know that the road would be clearer later in the morning.

Across the way, in Flint, the GM factory was shuttered for first shift on Wednesday, but then reopened for other shifts later in the day. That factory makes the Chevy Silverado HD Crew Cab and LD regular cab vehicles.

At the Ford Dearborn Engine Plant, only part of the line was kept running with the parts they had in stock. The rest of the operation was shut down. It was supposed to stay closed for Friday, but now will stay open to make up for lost time on F-series chassis production.

The last thing you want is to have union workers standing around waiting for parts to come in. Neil De Koker, CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, said it was that delivery of parts that was more of a problem than 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.

The Delphi Corporation supplier is also feeling the impact from the snow in making scheduled adjustments for its cars as well. “Many customers had some downtime because of shifts being canceled,” Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams stated; “If we've got customer sites that aren't operating, we can't deliver.”

The only ray of sunshine in all of this? The official groundhog of Groundhog’s Day predicted an early arrival of spring.


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