DETROIT — The U.S. auto industry is facing two serious problems that could limit the number of new vehicles in showrooms later this year.
The most immediate problem is a shortage of a plastic resin used to make fuel lines and other parts. Last month, an explosion knocked out a plant in Germany that makes the substance. That could cause auto assembly plants to slow down in a few weeks.
And if sales of cars and trucks continue to grow, the industry could run short of parts later this year because there aren't enough factories to make them. The parts industry shrank during the recession and hasn't grown enough to handle rising sales.