The importance of quality parts and strong supplier relations was laid bare for the Ford Motor Company Thursday, as it was forced to hit the red button on five assembly plants (and partially close a sixth) after it learned that of a defective clutch mechanism employed in certain 4-speed automatic transmissions. The costly shutdown idles plants producing F-Series pickups, E-Series vans, Expeditions, and the Lincoln Town Car. 15,000 workers are affected.

No word yet on how many units are affected, or how soon production will resume on these profit-rich vehicles, but an analyst has pegged the shutdown as costing some $34.4 million per day, before taxes.

[Source: Associate Press via Yahoo News; BBC News]