auto parts en U.S. auto production might struggle to meet demand <p>U.S. auto companies are faced with pent up demand from consumers at a time when their supplies for parts and materials are getting squeezed.</p><p>The Associated Press reports the shortages could limit the number of vehicles companies can sell, and squeeze a historic turnaround for the U.S. auto industry.</p><blockquote><p>The most immediate problem &mdash; a <a href="">shortage of a crucial plastic resin,</a> caused by an explosion March 31 at a plant in Germany &mdash; could surface in a few weeks. And later this year or beyond, automakers could be confronted with an even bigger crisis, running short of parts simply because there aren&#39;t enough factories and people to make them.</p></blockquote><p>The AP points out that the new process for manufacturing makes automakers vulnerable to these kinds of disruptions because auto suppliers don&#39;t stockpile parts the way they used to.</p><blockquote><p>Instead, to hold down warehouse and inventory costs, they rely on a &quot;just in time&quot; system in which parts are delivered just days or hours ahead of when they are needed. Thu, 19 Apr 2012 14:33:31 +0000 Mark Brush 7102 at U.S. auto production might struggle to meet demand Owners of auto parts company charged with fraud <p>CHESTERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Two brothers whose Michigan company supplies parts to the auto industry have been charged with fraud in an investigation of the quality of plastic.</p><p>Orman and David Bernhardt of Davalor Mold are accused of using less expensive materials than required in seat belt assemblies and then covering it up through false reports.</p><p>The fraud charge was filed Monday. Their lawyer is Bob Sheehan, and he says a guilty plea is planned.</p><p>He says there&#39;s &quot;absolutely no safety issue.&quot; Sheehan says the parts were tested by federal regulators.</p><p>Davalor Mold is in Macomb County&#39;s Chesterfield Township, about 30 miles northeast of Detroit. The company works for Tier I auto suppliers, which supply parts for automakers. The alleged scheme lasted for two years until spring 2010. Mon, 16 May 2011 20:59:00 +0000 The Associated Press 2517 at Howell auto parts plant fire <p>Investigators are picking through what&rsquo;s left after a fire heavily damaged an auto parts plant in Howell on Wednesday.&nbsp; Dozens of firefighters from six different Livingston County communities joined forces to battle the blaze at the Magna Atreum auto parts plant.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>About 450 people work at the plant which produces dashboards, consoles and other parts for General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan and Mazda.&nbsp; The cause of the fire is still under investigation.&nbsp;</p><p>The full extent of the damage and how long it will take get to the facility back up and running is also still being reviewed.&nbsp; No one was injured in Wednesday&rsquo;s fire. Thu, 03 Mar 2011 14:47:17 +0000 Steve Carmody 1489 at