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Earthquake In Japan Could Threaten Supply For Local Auto Dealers

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Auto manufacturing in Japan is nearly at a standstill. Even those plants that weren’t damaged have been shut temporarily because of rolling black-outs and the concentrated effort on helping the devastated areas.

Dealers are waiting to see how they’ll be affected, but many say it still may be too early to tell how the disaster in Japan will affect their ability to get parts and inventory.

The major Japanese carmakers have U.S. plants that produce most of the cars sold here but two of Toyota’s most popular brands– Prius and Lexus– are made in Japan.

Paul Muller of Langhorne’s teamtoyota says that could be a problem.

“In the last month or two, they’re flying off the shelves so we’re down to less than a 30 day supply,” said Langhorne.

Meanwhile, Subaru of America, based in Cherry Hill, says about 45 percent of its cars sold in America come from Japan but spokesman Michael McHale says the carmaker fared better than some others there.

“Our main production facilities which are nearby to Tokyo were not damaged particularly by the earthquake but some of our suppliers, obviously, have been affected.

Carmakers say they’ll be re-assessing later this week.

Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio

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