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Toyota tells dealers to plan for inventory shortfalls - and workers to plan for extra days off

Toyota will shut down its U.S. factories five extra days this spring because of parts shortages – and warns its American dealers to expect inventory shortfalls this summer. 

Rick Hodges is General Manager of Victory Toyota in Canton, Michigan.   It’s bad news, especially in the wake of last year’s recall crisis. 

"When the weather breaks, March all the way through August is normally when we’re going to sell 2/3 of all of our vehicles," says Hodges, "And it’s going to hurt our sales, sure."

Honda, GM and Ford have also idled U.S. plants because of the Japanese parts shortage. 

Michael Robinet of I-H-S Automotive says 25% of global car production could be hit in the next few weeks -- but he wouldn't advise car companies to make big changes to how they source parts.

"To think that absolutely everything is going to be dual sourced in the future and that they’re going to have no reliance on any one supplier -- I think would be folly," notes Robinet.

The parts shortage could affect car buyers, too.  Deals on new cars could be limited, some cars will be on back order, and used car prices could go up, too.  

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.