Ford cars: Pick any color except black (and red)

Ford tells dealers not to order cars in tuxedo black, royal red, red candy, and red fire. Ford gets the metallic pigment from Japan, where production has been halted.

Paul Sancya/AP
In this March 17, 2011, photo, line workers assemble a 2012 Ford Focus at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. The car company is asking dealers not to take orders for cars in certain metallic shades of black and red because the Japanese company that makes the pigment has been shut down in the wake of its earthquake and tsunami.

By Lori Ann LaRocco, CNBC Senior Talent Producer

Ford Motor Company is telling its North American dealers not to make new car orders in certain colors because the paint is sourced out of Japan and the recent earthquake has disrupted supplies.

The restricted colors are tuxedo black, royal red, red candy and red fire. The pigment to make the paint look metallic is made in Japan and production of that pigment has been halted because of disruptions resulting from earthquake. This pigment is made by a second tier supplier who then supplies the product to the paint suppliers.

The pigment is called Xirallic. Ford is not the only customer that uses this pigment. It is widely used in the auto industry. The pigment is also used in transportation equipment, cosmetics, ceramics, plastics, printing inks and media, packaging material, electronic goods as well as construction materials.

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Ford maintains they have plenty of vehicles in these colors and this move is just a precaution.

"There is no shortage of these colors as we speak," explained Todd Nissen, a Ford spokesman. "This is just a precautionary measure as we assess the situation while we adjust our future production in these colors." Nissen said the production level of vehicles remains unchanged.

In the first quarter, Ford plans to produce 650,000 vehicles in North America, up 13 percent versus first quarter of 2010. In the second quarter, Ford plans to build 710,000 vehicles in North America, up 9 percent compared with the second quarter of 2010.

"There is no current shortage and we are working with the supplier to see when they will go back online and are looking for color substitutes," added Nissen.

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