Detroit's Big Three car makers were expecting to resume production on Monday at most of the more than 50 plants crippled by last week's power failure, The New York Times (NYT) said.

However, company spokesmen told the paper that the slow return of full electricity could hamper normal output in some areas affected by the blackout though no serious delays were expected.

GM spokesman Dan Flores told the NYT that the blackout affected a total of 17 GM plants but all would be up to full output by Monday morning with the exception of a few sites in Canada.

Ford spokesman Ed Lewis told the NYT it too hoped to get most of the 23 plants it closed back to work by Monday morning but he added that energy officials in some areas had asked for a slow return to full production to avoid straining local power grids.

The Chrysler division of DaimlerChrysler told the New York Times that the blackout affected 14 of its plants but that the sites would all be operating by Monday.

Company officials said they were not yet prepared to estimate the full cost of the cascading power failures, the paper said, adding that GM's Flores said the effect of the blackout was more subdued than some analysts might have expected.

Separately, Automotive News noted that the power cut that crippled the north-eastern United States late last week also paralysed most of the automotive industry in metropolitan Detroit, New York, New Jersey and parts of Ohio and Canada and added that car makers lost an estimated 35,000 units of production to the end of last Friday, according to its data centre.

General Motors, Ford and the Chrysler group also closed their respective world headquarters in Detroit, Automotive News said.

At Ford, 23 of 43 North American assembly and manufacturing plants went down when the power was cut at about 4:15 pm on Thursday, mainly in Michigan, Canada and the Cleveland area, spokeswoman Brenda Hines told the industry newspaper. Ford shut down all first shifts in Southeast Michigan on Friday but some plants reopened late on Friday, the report added.

According to Automotive News, Ford's biggest supplier, Visteon, shut its south-east Michigan plants until the end of at least the second shift on Friday. "We'll make the decision to stay down on a shift-by-shift basis," spokeswoman Marge Sorge told the paper.

At GM, all operations were closed on Friday in metropolitan Detroit except for maintenance and skilled trades, spokesman Edd Snyder told Automotive News.

GM's OnStar unit was operational, but some mobile phone customers were having trouble, spokesman Terry Sullivan told the paper.

Automotive News said most parts suppliers in the affected areas also closed their offices and those that were forced to shut down manufacturing plants said they had a small bank of parts but were having trouble getting those parts to customers.

"We're producing, so that's not the issue," Jim Gill, spokesman for Continental Teves, told the paper on Friday, adding: "The issue is logistics and communication systems. When trucks show up, we're shipping. But it's kind of sporadic right now."

Automotive News said Continental Teves didn't need to cross the Canadian border to move parts, but many companies that did found long delays at the border.

The paper said that, in Canada, the Ontario provincial government asked that all businesses stop using power for non-essential operations. Toyota, Honda, Siemens VDO Automotive and Denso International America closed plants in Ontario even if they had power, Automotive News said.