Nearly a century ago, automotive pioneer Henry Ford was fond of telling customers they could order a car “in any color, as long as it’s black.” Right now, his great-grandson William Clay Ford, Jr. has to tell buyers they can order a new Ford in almost any color as long as it is not Tuxedo Black…or several shades of red.
The Japanese disaster trifecta that was touched off by a massive earthquake – then followed by a tsunami and a partial nuclear meltdown – damaged scores of parts plants and put production by most major Japanese automakers temporarily on hold. (Click Here for more.) Not only are conventional car parts, like engines, plastic panels and electronic chips gone into short supply but now it appears the world’s automakers could be facing a serious pigment panic.
Nearly three weeks after the earth first shook, a key plant in northeast Japan run by chemical company Merck is still down and a spokeswoman for the German company says it could be as much as two months more before the facility is back in operation.
“For both the timing of the repair start and for its timely completion, we are dependent upon the availability of infrastructure and utilities, as well as upon developments at the Fukushima power plant,” Merck’s Phyllis Carter told the Associated Press.