By on March 26, 2021

The industry is having to stall more plants to contend with the semiconductor shortage that’s currently making it more difficult for you to get everything from a smartphone on up to your next vehicle. Ford Motor Co. recently informed employees that its Dearborn truck plant (easily one of its most profitable facilities) would need to be idled through the weekend to create a buffer for semiconductor chips. Worse yet, it’s not the first time the automaker has had to stall output of the F-150 this year. Ford has also started manufacturing trucks without all the necessary components, stating it would hold vehicles for a few weeks to account for supply chain delays.

Meanwhile, Chrysler has made a similar announcement about its minivan output as Windsor Assembly faces another chip deficit. Unifor Local 444 recently stated that the facility would be staring down the barrel of a four-week shutdown starting next week. Considering Chrysler’s minivans literally just dealt with a three-week stall over the chip shortage, union workers are understandably upset. Days earlier, General Motors Canada also announced that its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, will likely remain idle until the middle of April. 

But it’s been hard times for the industry in general. Following a lackluster 2020, this year started with numerous automakers confessing that the semiconductor shortage would be more impactful than they initially estimated. By February, analysts had gotten in on the action and started making varied predictions about the future. Though the present was deemed a mess by everyone and the rippling effect of lockdowns was presumably going to continue wreaking havoc on global supply chains.

“At this stage, while we anticipate a million vehicles will be delayed from production in the first quarter, we expect the industry to recover later in the year, with little expected risk to the full year forecast of 84.6 million units at this time. We are continuing to monitor, however, and the situation remains fluid,” stated Executive Director of Global Light Vehicle Production for IHS Markit Mark Fulthorpe.

While the IHS Markit analysis from last month is probably one of the more nuanced takes on the chip shortage, it doesn’t paint the rosiest of pictures. It suggests prolonged hardships affecting all manufacturers, with a late-year turnaround, allowing for the possibility of things getting much worse on the chip front through the second quarter. Asian firms appear to be better positioned than their Western counterparts, however, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that no manufacturer will emerge unscathed.

Ford’s latest action lends itself to a previous forecast that the chip shortage could burn roughly $1 billion to $2.5 billion off this year’s estimated profit. Considering that the automaker stalled numerous facilities since the start of 2021 (often impacting the all-important F-Series), we’re willing to believe those figures.

Blue Oval plans on having Dearborn closed from Friday through Sunday, though it’s not just the F-150 being impacted. The automaker has had to slow production of the Transit, Escape, EcoSport, and Edge. While other models have also been impacted, Ford claims those shorts represented negligible production losses.

GM’s latest announcement impacts Chevrolet Equinox production. But the company has also confirmed output will be suppressed for the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon (starting on Monday) due to stalls at Wentzville Assembly Center until April 5th. Lansing Grand River Assembly has also seen closures extended through April 12th, impacting volume for the Camaro and Cadillac’s sedans.

[Images: Ford Motor Co.]

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30 Comments on “Semiconductor Shortage Delays More Automobiles...”


  • avatar
    thegamper

    I would think that Ford (And GM/Chrysler) would move mountains to keep the lights on at truck assembly plants since they are completely reliant on the fat profits from pickups. With Ford shutting down F150 production, the problem must be very acute. Better get those trucks rolling before Detroit goes bankrupt again.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s like a backwards bank account. Normally “Detroit” pickups leave the dealer with a pile of cash on the hood. They can effectively double the profit of already obscenely profitable trucks as demand goes nuts, at least for a good while.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Time to go back to simpler times.
    Bring back points and carburetors!

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      How about “bring back semiconductor manufacturing to the US” instead?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Shhhhhh, you’ll wake grandpa Joe.

        • 0 avatar
          kcflyer

          Naw, sleepy Jo will need a long nap after yesterday. He spent so much time rehearsing the prepared answers to the submitted in advance questions he’s really tuckerd out. Meanwhile the overhyped covid response continues to undermine the health and economy of the entire country.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You’d think he would just outsource all appearances to one of his look-a-likes.

            Depending on what they have planned it may not matter to them.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            What undermined the health and economy of the country was the inept, if not outright criminal, handling by the prior regime.

            At least “sleepy Joe” reads the PDB, unlike the Orange Buffoon – who spent all his time watching tv, golfing and, of course, tweeting.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not even close, the power over closures was given to the states with several not named New York dragging things into June or later long after all data suggested otherwise. The Feds *did not* take control or declare martial law. Now many jobs have been permanently destroyed and they’ve resorted to the precursor to UBI -“stimulus”- something Andrew Yang already floated because they know they cannot recreate those jobs and businesses quickly if ever.

            You don’t know what either of them were or are reading. The current White House occupant is clearly debilitated and likely ill. He’s still probably lucid enough to hold some meetings and make some decisions but I have no doubt is personally struggling. State Media has largely glossed over this and if Biden didn’t slip up live they would likely edit it out. He’ll be lucky if he survives the next four years let alone be able to serve. That’s why this “election” was such a farce.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            The shutdown power was not given to the states – the federal government doesn’t have such power except during war time. There’s no pandemic exception in the constitution.

            The states already have limited shutdown power, but not for any pandemic – there’s no exception in state constitutions either. Their power is in eminent domain, and shutting down businesses is a “taking”, requiring just compensation.

            All the states that shut down incurred a huge financial liability to compensate businesses for their losses, one they will escape because our legal system isn’t free enough from the influence of political corruption to follow the law.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            …That’s why this “election” was such a farce…

            Not defending Joe – Bloomberg would have been my choice – but in the courts, facts and evidence rule the day. And every challenge, the courts were given zip in terms of evidence – and the cases were thrown out. Time to stop the stupidity. The election was not stolen. Focus on Joe instead. He will give you plenty to harp on. At least he doesn’t think that giving water to a person waiting in line to vote is a crime.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The mail in ballots introduced a completely new vector and with the 100% guarantee of some element of fraud, which is why this is not done with anything except overseas and absentee ballots which are not typically even counted unless necessary. Whether this new element of fraud was enough to sway things, we cannot say and we’ll never really know for sure. I will say any future election which allows mass mail ballots is not legitimate.

            https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3666259

            The Dims -who had a legitimate winner in Bernie in 2016 and 2020- chose the two worst candidates since Mondale/Ferraro ’84 but somehow garnered 12 million *more* votes than Obama’s 2008 blowout? Yeah I don’t buy that.
            Senator Obama had huge crowds of people behind him leading up to Nov 2008, Senator Biden simply did not and does not have that level of support today. Twelve million more than Obama on the “we hate Trump” vote? Anyone who believes that I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

            We witnessed a repeat of November 1963 only this time it was not accompanied by an assassination, a coup d’état -no, repossession- by American’s owners. Exact method of action isn’t as relevant as the end result. Short of confessions, no court wants to be involved with something so scandalous and any good firm will be able to poke holes in whatever irregularities are provided. Court is not about truth and the law is not about justice, just ask Al Gore.

            The better question here is why were such great lengths taken to oust the president? They certainly pulled out a lot of stops, as I said rhetorically last year “what’s next nuclear weapons”? They *really* wanted him gone and went to a lot of risk and trouble to do so. What’s so important that you needed him gone to implement? Remains to be seen.

        • 0 avatar

          “Shhhhhh, you’ll wake grandpa Joe.”

          Grandpa is okay. He was so energetic and aggressive during recent “press conference” that he scared sh!t out of Chinese.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            when Joe called out the first journalist (from his list marked #1), that dude wasn’t even holding his hand up. Joe called him, the journo was like, “ah me”, raised his hand after being called.

            Soviets had way better theater.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Slavuta yep…of course that “Theater” was the Soviet economy. But hey, a loss is a loss…and you guys lost! Enjoy the ashbin of history. Say hello to Stalin.

            $#!+head

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      LOL, they don’t have any carbs or points sitting around either. :) Though it’s probably a bit easier to set up a carburetor plant than a microchip plant.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I read this today and it reminded me of that and the other thing:

        https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article250187880.html

  • avatar
    ghostwhowalksnz

    All the same talking points of true Trumpanees…who in the last 4 years has had to be rushed to hospital ..twice. yep the obese one who claimed to be in perfect health and yet would stumble on 2 or 3 steps or the ramps that were his preferred option

  • avatar

    It is time to move Taiwan to USA. We can anchor it near West Coast close to Silicon Valley.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I have mentioned it previously: EVs utilize many more semiconductors than the liquid fuel powered ones.

    Yet, every manufacturer is banking in the former replacing the latter within a quite reduced timeframe.

    If I were one of those auto executives, I would give pause to the EV rollout if the US in particular, and the Western World in general, until there are enough silicon fabs here.
    This to avoid being held hostage over semiconductors.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Yet, every manufacturer is banking in the former replacing the latter within a quite reduced timeframe.”

      No, they aren’t. Even Volvo is claiming all EVs *or* hybrids by 2025, I could see the latter being realistic but that’s not the part which grabs the headline.

      “I would give pause to the EV rollout if the US in particular, and the Western World in general, until there are enough silicon fabs here.”

      I agree with you, but such rational thoughts are heresy to the green religion. What will happen is Tesla will buy up as much as it can of whatever supply there is, probably at any price, while everyone else struggles to source from wherever they can. When EV sales go nowhere again this year the “chips crisis” will be blamed and next year they will cook up another excuse.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      “EVs utilize many more semiconductors than the liquid fuel powered ones.”

      I’m not so sure about that. If you want to compare a 65 t-bird to a Model 3 it might be true, but an RS-7 vs. a Model 3 might be a different story. I’m intimately familiar with EVs and a little less with ICE vehicles. With EVs, I think the firmware to run a motor and battery management is simpler than the electronics to run an ICE ECU and ICE transmission computer. Emissions are a PITA. I’ve written firmware for EVs. Never for ICE. I’ve done robots, which are essentially EVs, with some fairly simple components. Give me a small ARM SOC and I can do anything. An ICE, I’ve got to run the fuel system/ fuel injection, air mixture, the EVAP, ignition, VVT, exhaust valves, and monitor numerous sensors. Those sensors usually require silicon. I’m probably missing something. I don’t know, I just don’t see an EV taking more silicon than an ICE car. What EVs and ICE cars have you designed? I’ve been limited to wheeled robots and drones (actually writing the low level firmware to drive the motors and manage the battery), and I’ve worked on ICE cars, but never designed one or an engine management system. Maybe I’m missing something?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        You are correct that there are more semi-conductors in running an emission compliant ICE and umpteen speed transmission that it is running an motor. Way more things to control on the ICE.

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          I have been watching the “Scrapyard Supercar” series on Amazon Prime (kind of a modern reincarnation of “Junkyard Wars” which was the U.S. version of “Scrapheap Challenge”).

          It is interesting to watch the teams struggle with the ‘modern’ vehicle electronics and harnesses (vs. the older vehicles on the older shows). [Example: The engine won’t start until we reset it, which requires closing and locking the doors, but we removed the doors.]

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    28-Cars- later-
    Maybe 80 million people decided they didn’t want an arrogant, misogynist ego maniac in the White House. The state I live in has been using mail in ballots for years with out scandals. The key is updated voter rolls.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    The prices will continue to go up on new vehicles especially with this chip shortage and used vehicles will go up as well. Add the stimulus payments along with workers who took mass transit that have been buying vehicles to commute and the demand for vehicles will increase.

  • avatar
    aero1

    Finally, more of this TTAC.. make yourself useful for goodness sake, less drivel please

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