Toyota is warning its dealers that they could face shortages of new products this summer.
“The potential exists that supply of new vehicles could be significantly impacted by summer,” reads a memo from Toyota brand chief Bob Carter, published in the Wall Street Journal.
This comes as Toyota this week begins one day shutdowns at its North America factories to conserve parts, and the company hints that more actions like that will be coming in the future.
The memo from Toyota telling dealers that the company has an adequate supply of vehicles now, but warns that may not be the case in the future. Toyota is also changing the colors of exterior paints, because of chemical shortages.
“I think it’s highly likely that the situation there could be worse, much worse, than we’ve been lead to believe up till now,” said Bill Visnic of the online site Edmunds.com.
Visnic said it’s in manufacturer’s interest to give out as little information as possible about their future production.
Honda is already working half days at its North American factories to conserve parts. Nissan is also cutting back.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne telling reporters in Italy that parts shortages will have an impact on production. He declined to give specifics, but the effect on Chrysler so far has been limited to curbs on overtime.
General Motors has formed a task force to monitor the situation, and has reportedly been able to re-source many critical parts from other suppliers. GM declined to make an executive available for an interview.
Edmunds.com has warned that shortages could cause the price of small and hybrid vehicles to rise, just as gas prices are also on the rise. Visnic says higher vehicle prices in the summer, could start to drop in autumn, as supplies return to normal levels, and gasoline prices historically tend to drop.
His advice to buyers looking to downsize to something more fuel efficient. Summer might not be the best time to buy.
“If you really are trying to buy one of the vehicles that’s in demand, it’s really very much a sellers market, and you’re in a disadvantage as a buyer.”