While North AmericaN auto makers ad-just to slowing demand by cutting costs, closing plants and reducing shifts, production-capacity losses and gains among states and provinces in the region will seesaw between now and 2012.

Ontario, Canada, will reign as the capacity leader as 2007 closes. However, the Canadian province over the next five years is expected to cede the title to Michigan.

By 2012, Michigan — with only a minor 3.1% capacity expansion — will outpace Ontario, due to the province's potential loss of some 600,000 units.

General Motors Corp. will close a car plant in Oshawa; Chrysler LLC will cut back shifts at Brampton and most likely its Windsor facilities; and Ward's predicts Ford Motor Co. will close its St. Thomas plant. Thus, Ontario's capacity is forecast to drop 17.7% over the next five years.

Total North American capacity in 2012 is expected to increase by only 107,913 units, compared with 2007, growing from 20,534,456 vehicles to 20,642,369, according to Ward's forecast.

While multiple plant closings are expected throughout North America in coming years, Indiana will provide a counterbalance.

Honda of America Mfg. Inc.'s new plant in Greensburg, IN, which opens next year, is expected to exceed capacity of 450,000 units annually over the next five years as it builds the high-volume Honda Civic sedan and plans to add a vehicle, perhaps the Fit hatchback, according to Ward's forecast, although Honda has said there are no current plans to build the subcompact in North America.

Capacity also will expand at several other Honda North American facilities, giving the Japanese auto maker a total increase of 588,000 units and making it the second fastest-growing vehicle manufacturer behind Toyota Motor Engineering & Mfg. North America.

Overall, Indiana is forecast to see a capacity rise of approximately 450,000 units in the 5-year timeframe, bumping it to a fourth-place ranking in North American vehicle capacity in 2012, from today's sixth place.

Ohio will continue to rank third in capacity, despite significant losses over the next five years. GM will drop 260,000 units when it closes its Moraine facility, and Chrysler's shift reduction at its Toledo North plant will create another 120,000-unit debit.

Hyundai Motor Mfg. America may give the State of Alabama a boost in the rankings as it considers adding several new vehicles over the 5-year time span.

Tennessee will move up a notch on the top-10 list as vehicle capacity grows by more than 200,000 units due to the resurrection of GM's Spring Hill facility that will begin building the Chevrolet Traverse large CUV next year and is expected to produce a new SUV for the '11 model year.

Illinois, on the other hand, will feel the pinch as Chrysler eliminates a shift at its Belvidere plant, losing nearly 200,000 units of capacity and dropping the state to ninth place from seventh in the top-10 rankings.

Mississippi, which didn't make the list this year, will edge its way onto the top 10 by 2012 with help from Toyota's new plant in Tupelo that should start production by 2010. With an added boost from expansion at Nissan North America Inc.'s Canton facility, the state's total capacity is forecast to increase by almost 250,000 units as it rounds out the top-10 list for 2012.

Although not noted for high production volumes, Delaware will lose all of its 215,000-unit capacity by the end of 2012 as Chrysler closes its Newark plant and GM shutters its Wilmington facility.

Two other states losing all of their production capacity include Minnesota and Virginia, as Ford closes its Norfolk, VA, facility this year and its Twin Cities, MN, plant in 2009.

Georgia, a low-producing state, will see GM close its Doraville plant next year but will welcome Kia Motors America Inc.'s new plant in 2009. But Kia's production will not match Doraville's, and the state will lose a third of its capacity, dropping from 304,000 units to 210,000 annually.

Mexico will see some capacity increases. San Luis Potosi will experience significant capacity growth as GM opens a new plant next year that will produce two small cars with capacity of just over 250,000 units annually. This adds significantly to the minor capacity in the region currently provided by Scania Heavy Trucks.

Aquascalientes, already home to a Nissan North America Inc. assembly plant, will realize big gains from a new Toyota plant that Ward's predicts will produce the Yaris small car in 2012. This new facility is expected to have a capacity of about 210,000 units annually.

Honda will expand capacity at its El Salto plant as it prepares to shift production from the Accord sedan to its popular CR-V midsize cross/utility vehicle.

Overall, Toyota will see the greatest capacity growth in North America over the next five years, with three new plants expected to boost capacity by almost 700,000 units. The U.S., Canada and Mexico each are slated for a new facility.

While foreign auto makers are expected to continue to thrive in North America, plant closings and shift reductions will leave the Detroit Big Three with notably less capacity by 2012.

Chrysler is expected to suffer the greatest loss, dropping 21.6% of its capacity, or nearly 750,000 vehicles. Ford will downsize about 15.0% as it sheds approximately 550,000 units. GM's operational changes will drive a smaller but nonetheless significant 6.0% reduction in capacity, for a 332,500-unit loss.

Production Capacity Of Top 10 States And Provinces
State/Province 2007 % Share State/Province 2012 Forecast % Share
1 Ontario 3,459,984 16.8% Michigan 3,447,094 16.7%
2 Michigan 3,343,177 16.3% Ontario 2,847,958 13.8%
3 Ohio 1,926,646 9.4% Ohio 1,544,198 7.5%
4 Kentucky 1,330,092 6.5% Indiana 1,411,392 6.8%
5 Missouri 1,060,684 5.2% Kentucky 1,380,098 6.7%
6 Indiana 955,677 4.7% Missouri 1,096,199 5.3%
7 Illinois 933,578 4.5% Alabama 861,301 4.2%
8 Alabama 777,981 3.8% Tennessee 833,192 4.0%
9 Tennessee 622,036 3.0% Illinois 742,848 3.6%
10 Puebla 496,108 2.4% Mississippi 682,615 3.3%
Top 10 Total 14,905,963 72.6% Top 10 Total 14,846,895 71.9%
Grand Total 20,534,456 Grand Total 20,642,369
Capacity Changes By Auto maker 2007 - 2012
OEM Unit Change % Chg
Toyota 681,800 44.7%
Honda 588,882 38.7%
Kia Motors 209,603 --
Nissan 90,349 5.7%
BMW 77,295 50.3%
NUMMI 40,154 9.1%
Hyundai 33,127 11.0%
Kenworth 14,530 17.5%
Subaru 10,038 4.3%
GM N.A. Mfg. (332,491) -6.0%
Ford N.A. Mfg. (549,308) -14.9%
Chrysler N.A. Mfg. (748,777) -21.6%
Top Winners/Losers In North American Production Capacity (Volume Gains/Losses From 2007 To 2012)
Indiana 455,715
San Louis Potosi 255,369
Mississippi 248,954
Tennessee 211,156
Aguascalientes 209,603
Michigan 103,917
Baja California 99,581
Alabama 83,320
South Carolina 77,295
Kentucky 50,006
Ontario (612,026)
Ohio (382,448)
Illinois (190,730)
Delaware (170,657)
Hermosillo (110,424)
Minnesota (107,830)
Virginia (102,000)
Georgia (94,560)
Toluca (24,094)
Wisconsin (9,381)