Damaged paint plant could be down 4 to 8 weeks

Associated Press
FILE - In this file photo taken May 26, 2010, an all-electric Nissan Leaf is displayed, in Smyrna, Tenn. The auto industry disruptions triggered by Japan's earthquake and tsunami are about to get worse. Some car manufacturers, meanwhile, are considering shifting operations to deal with the crisis. Nissan, for example, is thinking of moving some of its engine production to Tennessee from Japan. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, file)

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Many car and truck buyers will have limited color choices for at least a month as crews try to fix a factory that was damaged by the earthquake in Japan.

The plant in Northeast Japan run by German chemical company Merck KGaA has been shut down since the quake. It is the only source of a shiny pigment used in many car paint colors.

Company spokeswoman Phyllis Carter says production won't resume for four to eight weeks, depending on the availability of infrastructure and utilities. She says repairs also depend on what happens at the damaged nuclear power plant about 30 miles from the factory.

Ford has told dealers to stop ordering its F-150 pickup in "tuxedo black." Chrysler told dealers it was also restricting color orders.

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