GUANGZHOU - Honda Motor said Wednesday that the production halt at its Chinese plants was unrelated to the March earthquake that hampered its supply chains.
Instead, the pause in production was due to a "routine check" that had been scheduled before the earthquake occurred, said Zhu Linjie, a spokesman with Honda Motor (China) Investment Co Ltd, Honda's Chinese headquarters.
Starting from April 30, production at Honda's two Chinese vehicle manufacturing joint ventures, Dongfeng Honda and Guangqi Honda, has been suspended.
"This is in line with our production schedule and the production at our auto parts plant was also adjusted accordingly," Zhu said.
"The production halt is not the result of the earthquake in Japan," he said.
Production at Dongfeng Honda, which builds Civic sedans and CRV sports utility vehicles, will resume May 11. Guangqi Honda, which manufactures Accord and Fit sedans, will pick up production again on May 16, according to Zhu.
However, production at both plants has slowed since late April as a result of insufficient parts suppliers, sources with the Honda Motor (China) said.
"In the short term, supply won't be affected as dealers have stockpiles. But it is hard to predict the long-term implications," sources who requested anonymity said.
Further, the production halt has affected sales at 4S dealers in Shenzhen, a city in southern China.
"There are no Honda cars available now. The cars will be delivered about one week after an order is placed, and this situation is expected to continue until the end of August this year," said a sales person at the New Dirui Automobile Sales Company.
Many Japanese carmakers and parts producers have shut down operations in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that damaged factories and infrastructure and caused delays in the shipment of raw materials.
The supply chain disruption in Japan has sent shockwaves through their Chinese auto joint ventures, which import some key auto parts such as engines from Japanese suppliers.
The disaster-stricken northeast region of Japan is a major production base for auto and electronics components.