By on March 19, 2021

On Thursday, Ford issued a statement explaining that some of its vehicles will be manufactured without the electronic modules dependent on semiconductors. While the automaker faulted the global semiconductor shortage, it also made mention of the winter storms from last month. A few shifts will reportedly be cut until supply chains stabilize while other lines will be constructing vehicles minus some electronics. The plan is for Blue Oval to hold onto them until more chips come in, minimizing production losses.

General Motors proposed a similar solution last week and has since started building 2021 light-duty full-size pickups without a fuel management module.

“Due to the global shortage of semiconductors impacting the global auto industry, we are making Active Fuel Management/Dynamic Fuel Management unavailable on certain 2021 model year full-size trucks,” said GM spokesperson Michelle Malcho.

Ford’s plan is to wait on the parts while GM thinks it should be able to get away with selling debatably incomplete vehicles. Worst case, the General said that some of its products will leave the factory yielding lower fuel economy than they were originally rated for.

Frankly, the trend of putting unfinished products on the road isn’t our favorite. But the industry seems willing to sell a vehicle without certain features when the alternative is not selling one at all. Ford may not be adept at predicting the future, but it should at least be commended for waiting to put finished automobiles on the market.

From Ford:

The global semiconductor shortage  combined with parts shortages created by the central U.S. winter storm in February – is prompting Ford to build F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs in North America without certain parts, including some electronic modules that contain scarce semiconductors. Ford will build and hold the vehicles for a number of weeks, then ship the vehicles to dealers once the modules are available and comprehensive quality checks are complete.

Ford is canceling the night shift today and both shifts Friday at Louisville Assembly Plant due to a semiconductor-related part shortage. Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair production is expected to resume Monday on short shifts, with full production scheduled to resume Tuesday.

In addition, we are taking further down days at our Cologne plant, suspending Fiesta production March 1-16 as well as March 22.

The automaker said that, if the semiconductor shortage scenario persists through the first half of 2021, that Ford’s adjusted EBIT could backslide by up to $2.5 billion. General Motors also predicted a $2 billion loss if chips availability doesn’t improve, adding that production at Fairfax and CAMI would remain shuttered until mid-April. The company is also extending downtime at San Luis Potosi through the end of March.

[Image: ehrlif/Shutterstock]

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27 Comments on “Detroit Revises Assembly Routine Due to Semiconductor Shortage...”

  • avatar

    First picture – Behold the world’s least amazing mass transit system (3 total miles of track, one loop, one siding):

  • avatar

    “Ford issued a statement explaining that some of its vehicles will be manufactured without the electronic modules dependent on semiconductors.”

    At least Ford found an excuse as to why they are building shoddy vehicles but you think they would have chosen a more long term excuse…

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Yes-Ford has enough problems building new model vehicles when everything is normal. If I read things correctly-they are going to build the vehicles and then wait on parts to make them “complete”. This scenario just reeks of quality control issues-which Ford is already known for.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    How about building a special run of vehicles minus many of the features that require chips but that are not required safety or emission related. Reduce the prices and make them value based.

    • 0 avatar

      GM is selling trucks without the AFM module with a $50 cut in price and fuel economy rating.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        The Chevrolet truck boards are celebrating being able to buy a truck without AFM. This is going to result in some truck purchases that otherwise wouldn’t have happened-until several years later. BTW-the fuel penalty on not having the AFM feature is 1 mpg.

        GM anticipates having the new generation of fuel management in the next model year.

        • 0 avatar

          That is hilarious, they just threw up the towel and said “here you can have it without AFM for a $50 credit”.

          “GM anticipates having the new generation of fuel management in the next model year.”

          Oh that would give me shivers as a dealer, AFM having gone so well and all.

          • 0 avatar

            Don’t get the AFM hate – it is virtually seamless – unlike annoying things like stop/start and touch screens for everything…I have had zip issues with my C7 regarding AFM which I use on highway trips. 32 MPG out of a 460 HP car is pretty damn amazing in my opinion. Any automatic transmission issues that are being blamed on AFM tells me there is a problem with the transmission, or in GM’s case the torque converter.

          • 0 avatar

            golden2husky, there have been two objections: (1) some people have experienced AFM hardware failure, requiring a partial engine rebuild, and (2) AFM prevents the “tune everything” crowd from raising the rev limit.

        • 0 avatar

          Do these trucks actually not have the AFM hardware in the engine, or do they just not have the controlling computer? Usually it’s the former people care about.

          • 0 avatar

            I had a Silverado with AFM For a year in 2008. Over time, I could occasionally discern the ‘shift’ to 4-cylinder mode because I was more used to the truck, but I must admit, it was seamless. I cannot say that for stop-start, which is why I probably would not buy a new vehicle with stop/start, unless it has factory override.

            That said, I’d rather NOT have variable displacement engine. I think I’m not alone, GM is smart to drop AFM.

            As for Ford, their launches seem to be disasters. Perhaps fewer modules will help; perhaps not

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Note to all automotive manufacturers, ponder the following thought for a minute:

    If you think this semiconductor shortage nowadays is bad, just imagine what might happen when you have bet your whole future in web enabled, infotainment rich, full electric vehicles.

    Which may have twice as many semiconductors and other electronic components that the actual vehicles have.

    When one thinks about semiconductors, the first thought is related to powerful microprocessors and digital signal processesors..
    But this shortage is ubiquitous. Even lowly diodes and bipolar transistors are in tight supply. Ancillary components like high voltage capacitors. Flame proof resistors. Components smaller than half a grain of rice, which nevertheless have a specific function in the digital signal chain.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      schmitt trigger-

      Of course the buying public now expects “Infotainment” systems in their vehicles. I have never had anyone tell me that they wanted an AM/FM radio with two control knobs and push buttons for the radio stations memory.

  • avatar

    Interesting. Our largest local employer just paid out annual bonuses and stimulus is going out, yet when I drove by the local Ford dealership they only had about 10 F150’s. In a normal year, there would be 100. I wondered what was going on. Lots of supply chain issues right now, all the while the government is shoving money at people. I’m waiting on a new sectional because the factory hasn’t caught up from a Covid outbreak last fall that shut them down for several weeks.

    Inflation here we come!

  • avatar

    Maybe, just maybe…these auto companies should, instead of investing Billion$ into make believe EV companies, should buy into chip makers or even start their own plants to make chips.

    • 0 avatar

      A very astute observation.

    • 0 avatar

      So wait. GM selling a vehicle without the AFM system means it will get worse fuel economy. That means it burns more fuel, right? And we know that burning more fuel contributes to global warming, right? And GM is now building products at the exact same time that we’ve decided to ban the Keystone pipeline, resulting in greater dependence on foreign oil. And contributing to global warming/climate change/whatever the left calls it today. Yes, your sarcasm detectors should be pegged. If only we had a president who believed in being energy self-sufficient and making things at home. Just imagine, good jobs making chips for our automakers, assembly lines open, high paying energy jobs, and less global warming/climate change/whatever. Instead, here’s a $1400 handout, peasant.

  • avatar

    looking for the article here about Ford reverting to practice after four years and building its new plant in Mexico

    they must lika senile prez (as the world calls him)

    • 0 avatar

      Less than a year to 2022 so let’s review the past three decades:

      Dishonest ex-stoner coke running/cokehead rapist -> Doofus cokehead (ex?) puppet warmonger -> Smug dishonest douchebag w/god complex and suspect credentials warmonger -> Nationalist dishonest troll narcissist asshole billionaire -> Senile asshole barely alive hypocrite international joke and likely warmonger -> ?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few products. With the stimulus payments there is even more demand for many products than there is supply. As for manufacturers supplying their own chips if the chip shortage persists for a longer period of time you might see some of the larger manufacturers invest in chip making. To me it would make more sense in the short run to look at reducing chip use where it is feasible and offer a price reduction where a product has had a chip reduction. The chip shortage will impact the number of new vehicles available when a new model is introduced especially the new Bronco and Maverick.

    • 0 avatar

      I can’t see car manufactures jacking up the price of vehicles because of part shortages especially with pickups. They’ll start with offering smaller rebates. I’ve noticed that already. Last winter it wasn’t to hard to find left over models with 10-14k discounts. This year they appear to be in the 6-10k range.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    The lack of AFM equates to 1 mile per gallon. The biggest compliant with AFM is that the truck is tuned (from the factory) so the torque converter releases at the very last moment-so the transmission lurches in some trucks. It seems the 2018 models have this issues more than others. Mine(2018 Silverado LTZ-4WD) is so bad I’m looking to buy a new F-150 or the redesigned Tundra (when it comes out) once inventory stabilizes and the COVID thing is minimized.

  • avatar

    Will it get worse now that we’ve sassed China?

  • avatar

    GM will place incomplete vehicles on the market for sale. I’m confused, haven’t they been doing this for something like the past 60 years?

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