Toyota Motor Corp
Toyota's action is the latest response to the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in northern Japan, which has left the global auto industry struggling to manage a ripple effect across its production and supply base.
About 13 percent of worldwide auto output has been lost due to parts shortages.
Toyota previously alerted factories in North America to potential slowdowns, saying there could be a significant impact on production depending on the model involved.
Other automakers, including General Motors Co
Products affected include a specialty paint that gives cars a glittering shine. Automakers have had to restrict orders on vehicles in certain shades of black, red and other colors.
The situation in Japan is still far from stable. We have to prepare. The only thing that the industry can do to protect themselves is to try and anticipate where we can have shortages and try and compensate for the level of uncertainty we're operating in right now, IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland said.
Lindland said nearly every automaker is affected.
I think everyone is approaching it very strategically and doing what they need to do for their specific situation. We could see similar strategies, she said.
Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, told dealers an assessment of inventory and the status of suppliers following the disaster prompted action to ensure enough components for the North American market.
Damage sustained by certain Japanese parts suppliers will interrupt their normal production, Toyota said in a statement that also noted current inventories are adequate.
However, Toyota told dealers it has placed 233 parts out of 300,000 -- less than 1 percent -- on so-called controlled allocation in order to maximize future availability.
A memo sent to Toyota and Lexus dealers on Tuesday and obtained by Reuters said Toyota's supply chain is currently absorbing fluctuations in shipments, using existing stock.
A separate memo to dealers identified key parts in question, including steering wheel covers, shock absorbers, door fixtures, seals, airbag sensor components, mudguards and certain moulding.
Toyota and Lexus dealers must now fill out special order release forms for those parts and they must be earmarked for a specific customer vehicle. Toyota said it asked dealers to refrain from submitting excess orders.
Tammy Darvish, a Washington-area Toyota dealer, said she is not seeing an impact on sales yet but expects the problems in Japan will impact her showroom in June.
The effect will be pushed out, she said.
Automakers report U.S. sales for March on Friday.
Toyota shares trading on the New York Stock Exchange closed 1 percent lower on Tuesday at $79.71.
(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit and John Crawley in Washington, editing by Matthew Lewis)