Ford Motor Co. has found replacements for the nonmetallic black and metallic red paints that became unavailable as a result of the Japan disaster. In an interview with Automotive News, Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas, said that vehicles in metallic tuxedo black and several shades of metallic reds will be assembled in the June-July period. Ford dealerships were told on March 25 that they can’t order any more of these vehicles with these colors.
The Japanese factory of Merck KGaA, which is the sole supplier of a paint pigment for carmakers like Ford and Chrysler, was shut down because of its proximity to a nuclear reactor damaged by the quake.
As soon as Merck’s engineers are able to access the Onahama facility, it will take them at least four weeks to resume operations. The plant manufactures the pigment Xirallic, which gives a glistening look to the metallic paints.
Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said that in the upcoming weeks, six other metallic colors in Ford Motor Co.'s lineup will halt production due to the shortage of Xirallic. Nissen said that this includes Bordeaux reserve, lava red, Kona blue, sangria red, earth and bright magenta.
These colors will be replaced with similar metallic shades and so “a full range of colors” will still be available for the dealers and customers.
Nissen said that vehicle pricing won’t be affected by the color replacement. Ford and Lincoln dealers will be getting updates on when certain vehicles and various colors will end production and when replacement colors can be ordered.