Some China auto-part manufacturers halt production; what this could mean for Hawaii

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The widespread coronavirus outbreak in China has auto part makers there putting the brakes on production.

Car companies like Ford, Fiat, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai are all reportedly halting production in some of its factories, leading to fears that if the outbreak continues, we could see part shortages down the road in Hawaii.

“We do fuel mechanical repairs which would be your break jobs, spark plugs, your tune up kind of things, and some of those components are manufactured in China,” said Michael Chong, Unibody Autotech Collision president and owner.

He said parts that could be affected range from minor parts like the rotor and break pads to major parts like the fender, headlights and even the bumper.

Chong’s company primarily uses parts made and sold from car companies in the U.S., but he does work with a supplier that brings in parts from China.

“If we run out of a certain material or a certain product because of the shutdown in China, the only alternative is to look at purchasing something equivalent that’s not made in China,” said Chong.

He said if this does happen, people may see a cost increase for repairs.

“So let’s say we buy a certain product and it’s made in China and it costs a dollar, but now that product is not available. So, we have to get it manufactured somewhere else,” said Chong. “Then it comes down to, if we’re paying more to buy product, then we have to pass that cost to the consumer as well.”

He said there’s no way to know as of yet what kind of price that could be.

After-market car part supplier Pacifc Jobbers, which gets their products directly from China, said they haven’t heard of any supply issues as of yet, but are reaching out to China manufacturers.

Chong, as well as other auto body shops, have said they haven’t seen an impact to China imported parts yet either. However, Chong said it’s something that his company is keeping an eye on.

“I think I have to go back and revisit with my staff and look at all the products we do purchase, and see what products are coming from China, and we have to be prepared for it,” said Chong.

He along with other auto body shops say they will be checking with the suppliers if that changes.

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