By Stephen Markley on April 23, 2010
Car parts travel long distances before they are assembled into the automobiles we know and love and drive. These supply lines are vulnerable to the same types of disruption as other types of travel, and this became very apparent after an Icelandic volcano erupted, shutting down air traffic in Europe.
Among the victims of the volcanic ash cloud was Ford, which had to close two plants because of parts shortages: the Mustang plant in Flat Rock, Mich. (where the Mazda6 is also made), and the Focus plant in Wayne, Mich.
Elsewhere, parts shortages led to a weeklong shutdown at BMW’s plant in South Carolina because the transmissions and other components coming from Germany couldn’t get off the ground.
The supply chains for automotive parts are long and complex and often involve the kind of trans-Atlantic flights that were completely shut down by the volcanic ash cloud. Though that cloud has now cleared, geologists fear another eruption could be triggered in the coming months.
Volcanic Ash Keeps Disrupting Auto Parts (DriveOn)