Last updated at 16:59 BST, Wednesday, 06 April 2011

Japanese disasters hit UK car production

Summary

6 April 2011

The Japanese car maker, Honda, says it plans to reduce the number of cars made at one of its UK factories. This is due to a parts shortage following the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The 3,000 workers at the plant will remain on full pay.

Reporter
Mark Gregory

A Honda Civic rolling off the production line at the Honda plant in Swindon

The Honda plant in Swindon relies on components from Japan for its cars

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Report

Honda says it's cutting production at its Swindon plant, in southern England, by 50% from next week, as it grapples with shortages of key components from Japan.

Wide swathes of Japanese industry are working at well below full capacity due to power shortages, following the nuclear accident at Fukushima. The earthquake and tsunami devastated a region that's home to some key parts suppliers to the motor and electronics industries. The effect is being felt in the supply chains of many companies around the world, not just Japanese ones, that rely on Japanese made components.

The problem's been exacerbated by the prevalence of so-called 'just-in-time' production systems, where manufacturers don't keep large stockpiles of parts on-site. Instead, they rely on timely deliveries made just before the parts are needed, more efficient when things are going well, but prone to disruption if the parts don't arrive on time.

Mark Gregory, BBC News

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Vocabulary

production

here, the number of cars made

grapples with

struggles to deal with

key components

crucial or important parts

wide swathes

here, large parts

devastated

wrecked or ravaged

the supply chains

the systems used to get parts or materials for production

rely on

depend on

exacerbated

made worse

prevalence of

common use or regular occurrence of

prone to

likely to suffer from

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