GM to idle 4 plants in US as Japanese quake hits parts supplies

Detroit automaker General Motors (GM) on Friday said it is temporarily closing four assembly plants in North America, in the wake of an acute shortage of automobile parts following the recent deadly earthquakes in Japan.

A GM spokeswoman said these plants, which primarily make cars rather than SUVs or trucks, will remain idle for two weeks as the company looks at parts availability and ensures adequate parts supply.

GM said it will idle plants in Spring Hill  in Tennessee, the Oshawa Flex Assembly in Canada, the Lordstown facility in Ohio and the Fairfax plant in Kansas beginning today (25 April) for the next two weeks.

These plants, which make the Cadillac XT5, GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Cruze, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac XTS, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Equinox and Buick Regal, employ about 13,374 workers.

The local unit of the United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents workers at GM's Lordstown plant, said in a notice on Facebook that the closure is due to an ''electrical parts shortage.''

GM said the temporary closure is not expected to have ''any material impact'' on GM's full-year production plans in North America, or its second-quarter or full-year earnings.

The other US carmakers, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, have not seen any impact from the earthquake, while Toyota and Nissan have taken a hit.