Illustration by Grayson Blackmon
In 2011, it suddenly became much more difficult to buy a Ford in three specific shades of red.
Those colors, as well as one called “tuxedo black,” relied on a gleaming pigment called Xirallic, which was made by a German company, Merck KGaA, in Onahama, Japan. Onahama was hard-hit by the tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster — and the Merck factory there was the only place that made the pigment.
It wasn’t just Ford that was left scrambling; GM, Toyota, and BMW used Xirallic in their paint, too. The shortage affected about a third of the 200 colors Toyota offered, or 20 percent of production, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The auto industry relies on something called “just-in-time manufacturing,” or JIT. An efficient JIT…tech, The Verge, The Verge - All Posts