Automotive supply chains are struggling to keep pace with a surge of sales and new car models this year leading large automakers such as Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) and Nissan Motor Co. to brace themselves for the worst. The news is leading many observers to wonder whether the automotive chain will snap.
New car sales are estimated to eclipse 15 million this year with 500 vehicles launched by 2016 — a new record. However, because of the economic downturn, many suppliers were forced to close plants, lay off large numbers of workers, and reduce the capacity of their operations by as much as 30 percent. Now that the auto industry is seeing a huge rebound in the realm of 22 percent, the supply chain and automakers are in a huge bind due to delays, disruptions, material shortages, and quality issues.
In order to increase capacity, Ford has added shifts at their plants resulting in an additional 400,00 vehicles with plans to add another 200,000 this year. Ford’s purchasing staff, which works directly with suppliers, has been in constant damage-control. ”We’re meeting weekly,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford President of the Americas, said.