A special paint colour pigment known as Xirallic is in short supply at the moment as the pigment is only produced in a special factory in Japan. The disaster-stricken country is unable to cope with the current international demand for the colour which is forcing manufacturers to put a limit on orders of particular models.
Chrysler Group LLC is one such manufacturer who has had to put a limit on orders for certain cars. Anniversary editions of various Jeep vehicles are offered with a special colour called Bronze Star, which does contain the Xirallic pigment. Chrysler has announced to dealerships an order limit has been put in place for such vehicles until supplies can be met.
This special Bronze Star colour is only available in the US, however, the Xirallic pigment is also used in up to nine other colours in Chrysler's line-up, including Billet Silver, Blackberry Pearl, Brilliant Black, Deep Cherry Red, Hunter Green, Inferno, Ivory, Redline, and Rugged Brown.
CarAdvice spoke with Dean Bonthorne, senior manager of marketing and corporate communications at Chrysler Australia, about the matter and asked if Australian sales would be affected by the shortage. Mr Bonthorne said,
"As is the case in many markets at present, we are not taking new vehicle orders for a small number of colours. This is to minimise customer inconvenience whilst we await further information on the paint supply situation from Japan."
He urged that in the meantime,
"Existing customer orders will of course be prioritised and we do not foresee any issues with supplying these vehicles".
The one and only factory that produces the pigment is located in Onahama, Japan and is owned by a German company called Merck KGaA. Merck company spokesman Phyllis Carter has said the company won't resume operation for around four to eight weeks. He says it all depends on the state of the damaged nuclear powerplant which is located just 50km away.
Chrysler is not the only auto manufacturer which could be affected by a supplies shortage. BMW AG, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG also use the pigment in a number of their showroom colours. These companies are yet to announce any shortages but reports say a limit on orders for particular cars/colours may also be put in place.