FILE - In this July 1, 2008 file photo, the Toyota logo is seen on the hood of a Prius Hybrid at a Chicago dealership. Toyota, which supplanted General Motors Corp. as the world's largest automaker last year, also swept 10 vehicle segment awards in a study released by J.D. Power and Associates on Monday, June 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, file)
New Toyotas may be in short supply this summer.
Production slowdowns in Japan and in the United States means new vehicle supplies could be "significantly impacted," according to a memo from Toyota's U.S. general manager Bob Carter, the A.P. reported.
Plants in both countries have not been operating at full capacity in either country.
Regional retailers say that it is a little early to gauge the full impact of the slowdown, but it may mean fewer choices.
Local consumers could see a limited number of colors available, said Rose Bayat, a spokesperson at Darcars. The March tsunami damaged a plant that produces paint for Toyota, which has disrupted supply.
Area service providers do not think that spare parts will be a major problem. Gil Briggs, the service manager at Lakeforest Fitzgerald, said that there is currently a very large parts inventory in the United States. Parts most likely to be affected by a production shutdown include sheet metal for doors, hoods, and fenders. However, Briggs said that after-market parts and parts from salvage yards would be able to fill any shortfall.
Briggs also noted that his service department has seen fewer collision related damage, with the rise of gas prices. He posited that drivers are slowing down to conserve fuel, and thus getting into fewer accidents.
Despite the slow down in Toyota's supply chain, there are still plenty of cars to sell, according to general manager's memo. He said in the U.S., there are currently 300,000 vehicles in stock.