Ford Curbs Black, Red Paint Use Amid Japan Quake Shortage

Ford Motor Co. told dealers today to stop taking orders for vehicles painted in tuxedo black and will limit output of automobiles in three red shades after the earthquake in Japan may cause a shortage of a necessary pigment.

The restricted colors are used on the Ford F-150 and Super Duty pickups, the Explorer, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicles and the Taurus, Focus and Lincoln MKS sedans, Todd Nissen, a spokesman, said in an interview.

“There’s a potential we could see some shortages of this pigment,” Nissen said. “At this point, we have adequate inventory on the ground to meet customer demand. We’re working to find alternative suppliers.”

Automakers and parts suppliers around the globe are reviewing operations and preparing for possible shortages of key parts, including electronic components sourced from Japan. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake that struck the country on March 11, triggering a tsunami and crippling a nuclear power plant, has halted assembly there for the nation’s major automakers.

Ford’s decision comes after General Motors Co. idled two compact-car plants in Europe and a pickup factory in Shreveport, Louisiana, because of parts shortages.

Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. haven’t informed U.S. dealers of any restrictions on color when ordering vehicles, according to spokesmen for each of the three Japanese automakers.

Honda temporarily stopped taking orders last week from U.S. dealers for vehicles that would have been built in Japan in the month of May as it continues to assess the impact to its operations from the quake.

Toyota told workers at North American plants yesterday it would likely have to trim some production, without identifying any specific plants or products.

Ford rose 73 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $15.04 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

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