Thailand floods forcing Honda production cuts in Lincoln
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Oct 31, 2011 | 6352 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Oct. 16, 2011, file photo, a Honda auto plant is submerged in floodwaters at the Rojana industrial district in Ayutthaya, central Thailand. Honda on Monday announced production slowdowns at its North American plants – including the one in Lincoln – because of parts shortages due to the floods. (Photo: AP/Sakchai Lalit, File)
In this Oct. 16, 2011, file photo, a Honda auto plant is submerged in floodwaters at the Rojana industrial district in Ayutthaya, central Thailand. Honda on Monday announced production slowdowns at its North American plants – including the one in Lincoln – because of parts shortages due to the floods. (Photo: AP/Sakchai Lalit, File)
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Honda’s plant in Lincoln will reduce production — but not employment — starting Wednesday due to parts shortages caused by recent flooding in Thailand.

Upper management at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln announced to employees today that production would be reduced by as much as 50 percent from Wednesday through Nov. 10, said Honda spokesman Mark Morrison in a phone interview. Also, production will cease completely on Nov. 11, he said.

For Honda to avoid layoffs, some employees will be asked to take vacation days while others will take safety training classes during non-production hours.

A Monday press release from Honda states that the Japanese-based automaker’s other five North American manufacturing plants will be placed on the same product-reduction schedule as the Lincoln facility.

Recent flooding in Thailand has forced several automotive suppliers there to close, causing a shortage of critical parts for Honda vehicles.

The production cuts come while Honda was still recovering from the March tsunami and earthquake in Japan, which caused significant parts shortages and forced the company to reduce production through September. The company’s sales fell significantly in the summer months due to the lack of available inventory. However, layoffs were avoided because employees used vacation and sick days or took safety training classes during non-production hours.

Lincoln plant employees had been working overtime since August to make up some of the production losses.

“We’re frustrated, but we will continue to work together to put customers first,” Morrison said.

The $1.5 billion Lincoln plant currently employs 4,000 people and is the sole producer of the Odyssey minivan, the Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup truck.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561.

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