UPDATE 2-GM to shut Louisiana plant due to parts shortage

Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:21pm EDT

(Adds analyst comment, background on closures)

DETROIT, March 17 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said it would temporarily idle its pick-up truck plant in Louisiana due to a parts shortage stemming from the crisis in Japan.

GM said it had "sufficient" vehicles to meet consumer demand and that it hoped to open the plant as soon as possible, although it did not specify a timeframe.

"Like all global automakers, we will continue to follow the events in Japan closely to determine the business impact," GM said in a statement on Thursday.

The largest U.S. automaker builds two pick-up truck models, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, at its Shreveport Assembly plant. The company said its other North American plants are operating normally.

The plant closure was a sign of the growing stress on the global auto industry after Friday's earthquake in Japan. Toyota Motor Co and Honda Motor have shut plants in Japan until next week.

North American production is likely to be affected unless Japanese suppliers revive their plants and send parts within the next ten days, Wolfe Trahan & Co analyst Tim Denoyer said in a note.

Denoyer said infrastructure issues in Japan threatened to extend the time these plants are idled. He said Honda is still not in touch with 44 of its 113 suppliers in the quake zone.

Honda could not be reached for comment.

"It only takes one supplier to stop a car plant," Nissan Senior Vice President Andy Palmer said in an interview with Reuters. (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; editing by Andre Grenon and Vinu Pilakkott)

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