Both international and domestic automakers have begun to feel the sting of a shortage of parts and paint components from factories in Japan.

No Japanese automaker is planning to return to full production soon.

Most Toyota plants will stay offline for weeks. Toyota announced they will stop ordering parts made in Japan as of March 29. The bulk of the Toyota and Lexus assembly plants will remain suspended at least until April 14, after a Reuters report saying they would be down until April 11. Only the Prius and Lexas hybrid production lines appear to be functioning normally. The rest of Toyota's 18 domestic assembly plants remain closed indefinitely.

MSNBC reported that Toyota is asking its US car dealers to stop order for 233 replacement parts made in Japan because the company is worried about running out of them. Toyota told dealers they can’t order 233 parts for Lexus, Scion, and Toyota models unless a customer already needs one for a repair. The company said its parts inventory is adequate even though many parts factories damaged in quake. Restricted orders of some components made at more severely damaged plants to make sure they remain available.

About 70% of Toyota cars and trucks sold in US are built in North America, and 3 out of 4 parts in those vehicles come from factories in region.

BASF announced that Chip Foose, renowned automotive designer and partner with BASF for automotive finishes, visited United States military and their families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Bay, Florida. On the March 23rd visit, Foose also spent time with several military men and women currently at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital recovering from injuries and wounds sustained during combat operations. 

“Our troops’ actions allow Americans to have the freedoms and the lives that we have. I think it’s important for our men and women who serve and have served in uniform to know that the nation supports them, and that’s why I’m here,” said Chip Foose, hot rod shop owner and former star of the reality TV series Overhaulin’ on TLC. 

Key members of BASF Automotive Refinish Solutions team also joined Foose on the tour. The time was well-spent lifting spirits, bringing encouragement and thanking the men and women for their sacrifices.

The new 1100755 Elegance™ clearcoat from Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes (SWAF) has been approved by the Ford Motor Company on a global basis. The clearcoat has undergone the extensive certification process to meet the Ford WSS-M2P100-D standard for automotive refinish products to assure that vehicles repaired at its dealerships use automotive refinish products of the highest quality.

The Elegance clearcoat was featured in the massive Ford booth at the recent NADA Show in San Francisco. Two new vehicles in its booth showcased the high gloss clearcoat, as more than 18,000 attendees had a chance to see it showcased on the gleaming new 2011 Fiesta models.

“We’re pleased that Ford Motor Company chose to use the Elegance clearcoat to highlight two of its vehicles at NADA,” said Jason Crager, SWAF OEM Business Development Manager. “NADA was a great place to show off the high glamour and depth of the Elegance clearcoat. We look forward to providing the product throughout the network of Ford dealerships as it gives them a terrific option for a very high quality finish.”

For more information on the premium Elegance clearcoat, visit www.sherwin-automotive.com or call 1-800-SWULTRA (1-800-798-5872).

AkzoNobel Automotive & Aerospace Coatings Americas (A&AC) today announces the leaders that have been selected as the 2011 Most Influential Women in the Collision Repair Industry (MIW) designation.  Five distinguished honorees are being recognized.  They comprise a cross section of service areas within the collision repair from the United States and Canada, including; publishing, industry association, independent shops and multi-shop operations. 

•    Barbara Davies – Autobody News – Carlsbad, California
•    Michelle Malanowich –  Queensway Autobody – Prince George, BC
•    Jennifer Justice-Hayley – Valley Paint & Body Inc. – Amelia, Ohio
•    Susanna Gotsch – CCC Information Services – Chicago, Illinois
•    Sharon Mazanec – Sterling Collision Centers, Inc.  – Northbrook, Illinois

While warnings to avoid Tsunami relief scams seem to be getting as much press as the news coverage itself, people in the auto industry should not be afraid of legitimate donations to help Japanese victims.

Japan has been one of the most generous nations internationally in disaster relief with many teams dispatched to other parts of the world. For example, a Japanese disaster relief team helping the victims of the New Zealand quake was recalled to help its own citizens.

Please consider supporting at least one of the following relief charities.

Mercy Corps is working to help survivors of Japan's earthquake and tsunami with their longstanding partner, Peace Winds, which specializes in immediate rescue aid.

Peace Winds helicoptered emergency supplies on Monday -- including tents, blankets, cooking fuel, tarps, rice and bread -- to families evacuated from homes in the tsunami-devastated city of Kesennuma.

Your donation will be used to meet immediate and longer-term needs of earthquake survivors.



OTHER Reputable organizations


American Red Cross: The Red Cross is in Japan helping with emergency relief, food and shelter. To donate, go to www.redcross.org. Checks can be mailed to PO Box 4002018, Des Moines, IA 50340-2018. Donors also can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to contribute $10.

Global Giving: The agency is helping other groups with emergency relief. To donate: www.globalgiving.org; Global Giving, Japan relief, 1023 1st St. NW, 12th floor, Washington, DC 20005; or text JAPAN50555 to contribute $10.

International Medical Corps: The corps is sending a team to Japan to help with medical needs. To donate: www.internationalmedicalcorps.org; Development Department, International Medical Corps, 1919 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 400, Santa Monica, CA 90404; 1-800-481-4462; or text MED8088 to contribute $10.

AmeriCares: AmeriCares is providing emergency relief and expects to be on the ground in Japan this weekend. To donate: www.americares.org or 88 Hamilton Ave., Stamford, CT 06902

Save The Children: This organization helps children displaced by the earthquake, providing emergency relief. To donate: www.savethechildren.org; 54 Wilton Rd., Westport, CT 06880; 1-800-728-3843; or text "JAPAN" to 20222 to contribute $10.

Though no employees at Toyota’s production plants in Japan were caught in this weekend earthquake and tsunami, the Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will close all plants Monday, March 14 in honor of the people of Japan, their colleagues and families.

A company-wide emergency task force TMC has been established to continually assess the situation at their affected plants and take any necessary measures.

No injuries have been reported at Toyota operations, including the corporate headquarters in Tokyo, the Higashifuji facility, Tochigi office, Yamanashi office, Toyota Motor Tohoku facilities or subsidiary vehicle manufacturers.

While most TMC facilities resumed production March 11, four specific plants that produce subsidiary parts plants and vehicles have not yet returned to operation. They include the Toyota Motor Plants in Hokkaido and Tohoku; the Central Motor Corporation that fabricates Yaris models in Miyagi; as well as the producers of the Scion xB and xD, the Kanto Auto Works in Iwate.

Employees of those facilities were evacuate to secure areas.