Opel has set up a task force to evaluate potential supply issues for its European operations as the effects of the Japanese earthquake continue to be felt.

The GM division is operating at 100% for the moment, but is looking at its Japanese supply chain on a “day-to-day” basis.

“We have set up a task force and are evaluating the supply situation,” an Opel spokesman in Germany told just-auto. “We don’t exclude there might be shortages of supply.”

“This task force consists of logistics and manufacturing experts in very close co-operation with our suppliers…and to find out the risks and how to cope with them.”

Opel conceded it had not encountered the current situation “to that degree” before, but has had supply shortages in the past, for example with rail strikes in France and Spain but the devastating impact of the Japanese earthquake is different.

“The automotive industry has a large footprint in Japan of course and as a car manufacturer, we are affected,” said the spokesman.

“We can’t give a percentage [of suppliers] but we work with all the major Japanese suppliers, a significant amount. It is important to note that we have Tier 1 but also in Japan, Tiers 2, 3 and 4.”

The spokesman added Opel was working with its Tier 1 suppliers to identify risks in the supply chain as a result of the earthquake.

Opel’s Russelsheim plant normally works weekends but will not do so tomorrow, although the automaker insisted this had been “planned.”

The manufacturer expects to be able to deliver an update on the situation next Tuesday (22 March).