JAMIE LAREAU

Get a Ford in any color but black … or red

Jamie LaReau covers Ford Motor Co. for Automotive NewsJamie LaReau covers Ford Motor Co. for Automotive News
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Whether he actually said it or not, Henry Ford is famously quoted as telling people they could get the Model T in “any color as long as it’s black.”

Henry Ford reportedly chose black because it dried faster than other colored paints at the time. Therefore, he could accelerate production.

Flash forward some 97 years, and black paint is again affecting Ford Motor Co.’s production plans.

This time, the company is scrambling to find a replacement for the metallic versions of black and red paint. And it has told dealers to stop taking new orders for vehicles adorned with those colors until the automaker can adjust its mix.

Apparently a Tier 2 supplier in Japan was negatively affected by the recent earthquake. The supplier makes a pigment called Xirallic.

Without the pigment, Ford’s Tuxedo black metallic paint can’t be made. Nor can several shades of metallic red: royal red, red candy and red fire.

Tuxedo black is featured on the Ford F-150 and Super Duty pickups, the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs, the Ford Explorer crossover, and the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans. The metallic reds are available on the Super Duty, Expedition, Navigator, 2012 Ford Focus compact, the Ford Econoline van and the Ford Ranger pickup.

Red and black are popular colors, but neither Ford nor many of its dealers are ready to panic over the problem yet.

As one dealer joked with me, he’ll tell his customers they can have any color they want as long as it’s not black … or red.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com. -- Follow Jamie on Twitter

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