Chip Shortage Leads to 'Dead' Cars On Factory Lots, GM Halts Truck Production

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Have you heard the one about the dead cars? No, not the ones we find in junkyards, but the ones that haven’t had life yet, thanks to the chip shortage.

These so-called “dead” cars are vehicles that have rolled off the assembly line, otherwise ready for sale, sitting in fields or on lots near the factories that produced them, just waiting for chips

The New York Times even recently recounted an anecdote from a dealer principal who took a pilgrimage to a Ford factory to see all the “dead” cars for himself.

We weren’t able to pin down a reliable estimate on how many dead cars there are sitting outside of factories, but we’re going to guess the number is a lot.

And that number is set to grow, as GM announced that plants in Indiana, Michigan, and Mexico that produce the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will halt next week, thanks to, you guessed it, the chip shortage.

GM had so far avoided chip-related shutdowns by skipping some features, and by … building some trucks and adding the chips in later. See how that “dead” car anecdote links to today’s news story?

Of course, halting production is a step beyond finishing vehicles and letting them sit until the chip cavalry arrives.

“The global semiconductor shortage remains complex and very fluid, but GM’s global purchasing and supply chain, engineering and manufacturing teams continue to find creative solutions and make strides working with the supply base to minimize the impact to our highest-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers,” the company said in a statement.

Leaving vehicles partially finished and cutting out certain features are just two solutions for automakers struggling through an unusual time.

[Image: GM]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jul 23, 2021

    I wonder if the semiconductor "shortage" is caused by China messing with us. Most fabs are located in Taiwan, and if the CCP wanted to, it could, by making a couple of phone calls, ensure that Chinese companies get their supply of chips while the GMs of the world sit and wait.

    • See 1 previous
    • Theflyersfan Theflyersfan on Jul 23, 2021

      @Lou_BC The main personal and business PC/laptop makers were hit just as hard. I was quoted between 5-6 months for 300 HP laptops a couple of months ago. Major refresh projects tend to be put on hold when inventory doesn't arrive! Dell is quoting around the same wait for large orders. Even configuring your own personal desktop or laptop used to mean a 2-3 week wait pre-2020. Now it takes 6-8 weeks.

  • Millerluke Millerluke on Jul 24, 2021

    In Oakville, ON, the Ford plant has probably thousands of SUVs (Edges & Escapes it looked like) sitting in local baseball fields, parking lots, everywhere around the plant. Amazing

  • Theflyersfan By the end of the summer, it will be buy one, get one free with a free charger at home install.
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  • Dwford 169". Same size as the Bolt EUV. The void got filled pretty quickly. Hopefully the next Chevy Bolt comes next year as promised.
  • MaintenanceCosts Unless something goes wrong this is going to sell very well in cities. I'm not a fan of the styling either here or with the EV9, but the products seem to me like they are well planned.
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