DEARBORN (WWJ) – Ford is idling a plant in Belgium because of the parts shortage caused by the earthquake in Japan.  As that happens, GM’s Shreveport, Louisiana plant reopens.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gilbert says we should expect to see a lot more of this in the coming weeks as the car companies appear to be involved in a global chess game.

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Each one of those parts is made up of hundreds of other pieces supplied by multiple companies. All it takes is one part to go missing or arrive late, and a vehicle can’t be built.

Idling some plants in order to get made in Japan parts to their most important vehicles.

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The uncertainly has suppliers, automakers and dealers scrambling. And it exposes the vulnerability of the world’s most complex supply chain, where 3,000 parts go into single car or truck.

“The parts we are talking about are very, very specialized, really meant for each specific vehicle,”says Michael Robinet, director of global production forecasting for IHS Automotive. “They range from paint pigments, to seals, to electronic components.”

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Robinet says despite the best efforts of the auto companies more plants will be idled before this is over.