Honda to change production plan in North America

HondaHonda is continuing to adjust its making schedules in the wake of the March 11 earthquake in Japan, and the shuffling will reportedly maintain at U.S. plants as well.

The plan is to run complete production shifts at U.S. facilities on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from May 9 through July 1, with a particular eight-hour shift added for Thursdays. With the exception of Honda's Greensburg, Indiana plant, all U.S. facilities were running two shifts prior to parts shortages. Employees at these facilities reportedly won't feel the pinch of the abbreviated production plans either, as they will have the choice of staying home or completing training without a pay penalty.

Honda talking head Ed Miller reportedly told Automotive News the reason for the shift is that it's more efficient to run operations that way. The automaker likely won't make any conclusions about U.S. production beyond July 1 until the condition is more clear.

On Monday, Honda announced it was suspending June and July trader orders for the CR-Z, Civic Hybrid, Fit, Acura TSX and Acura RL. Those vehicles are built in Japan, where shortages are still severe. At this point, the Japanese automaker expects operations to return to regular production before the end of the year.

This is all very bad information for Honda, and it's bad for customers as well. It shows that Honda showrooms are likely to be very short on product for an extended period of time.