Earlier this week, prominent media outlets like the Associated Press were reporting that prices on vehicles like the Toyota Prius were set to take a jump thanks to diminishing supplies. With Japanese automakers being forced to stop production in the wake of the March 11 earthquake that rocked the nation, limited model supplies here in the United States started to force dealers into cutting incentives and discounts, effectively raising prices.
Well, help is on the way, albeit in a limited, unknown quantity. Toyota announced on Thursday that it plans to restart production on certain hybrid models including the Prius, Lexus HS 250h and Lexus CT 200h beginning on Monday. It's unclear how long or effectively Toyota will be able to execute its limited production plans.
While the Nissan Leaf wasn't one of the models expected to be affected by rising prices--the newly launched all-electric is a smaller volume vehicle that's still finding its way in the market--Nissan said that it was restarting production lines on Thursday. While it plans to run a normal production schedule through April 1, things remain uncertain. The company cited ongoing electrical outages as one factor that could affect production plans.
In addition to power-supply issues, parts shortages have been a main impediment to Japanese and American auto production. Hundreds of parts makers were impacted by the earthquake causing a shortage in key auto components that have stymied production at automaker plants. GM was forced to shut down two plants earlier this week as a result of the shortages, and Japanese companies may also need to shut down their U.S. production facilities as parts start to dry up. Ford and Chrysler haven't been affected yet, but it's foreseeable that they will feel the strain as well.
For its part, Honda extended its shutdowns through April 3. The Fit, Insight and CR-V are three Honda models that may soon be affected by limited supply and increased prices.
Via Inside Line