IHS Automotive expects the light-vehicle production in North America -- United States, Canada and Mexico is -- to jump 7 percent year-on-year to 4.3 million units in the first quarter of 2014. It is near the record set in the third quarter of 2000 at 4.7 million, according to the Automotive News Data Center. For the full year 2013, IHS Automotive expects the light-vehicle production in North America to climb 4 percent to 16.8 million units.
Joe Langley, a senior IHS analyst, expects some high-volume models "will experience parts shortages." He noted that there is "some easing" as the production growth rate slows down, which could be a blessing in disguise. He remarked that North American assembly site will be operating at 92 percent of capacity, down slightly from 94 percent in 2013.
Data show that key plants producing high-volume models could be prone to stoppages since they operate around the clock. According to Langley, 25 of 80 plants in North America operate on triple shifts or three-crew, two-shift schedules. -- at 99 percent of capacity. Langley expects suppliers in North America would stretch to keep up, which eventually may lead to bottlenecks.
Such bottlenecks may likely hamper carmakers launching new models -- which make Ford the company to watch. Ford plans to retool its site in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., in the first quarter of 2014 to build the redesigned F-150. Ford will also retool its Flat Rock, Mich., site to build the redesigned Mustang. It is also preparing to launch the new Lincoln MKC crossover.