By on July 30, 2021

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The chips are down in Ohio, with semiconductor shortage reaching the factory floor where Jeep builds its Gladiator truck. According to reports, the Stellantis plant responsible for assembly of the lantern-jawed pickup, Toledo South, will halt the models’ production next week.

Wrangler production is not affected. For now.

“Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry,” a Stellantis spokesperson said in a statement to local media.

Beyond all the marketing doublespeak, it sounds like the company is allocating what chips it has on hand to vehicles that are in the most demand or making bank in terms of profit. While no one will suggest the Gladiator is an unprofitable vehicle, it does sell at a slower pace than the Wrangler. Given a choice, Jeep is wise to leave production of the latter uninterrupted. There are marked differences between the two machines but there are also vast similarities, leading us to rightly assume some parts (like certain semiconductors) can be transferred from one assembly line to the other in a bid to keep the place humming.

Jeep is hardly in this boat by itself, with most of the industry coping with the chip shortage in one way or another. Images of bare and barren dealer lots are easy to find online, with inventory problems becoming the bane of sales staff across the nation. Ford has even floated the idea of shipping unfinished trucks to dealers and having the chips installed by their techs; this is presumably in an effort to populate lots with something other than sailboat fuel. For the record, your author thinks this is a terrible idea – techs are already overworked, dealers may be tempted to let unfinished trucks slip out the door (especially if they’re floorplanning the things), and customers might scream bloody murder if they can’t have that truck out there right now.

Meanwhile, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares last week told the media his company expects the chip shortage to easily stretch into the 2022 calendar year. Demand created from the pandemic has led to a tight supply of things, a situation expected to cost the industry billions of dollars this year alone.

[Image: Jeep]

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12 Comments on “Jeepers: Toledo South to Temporarily Halt Gladiator Production...”


  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Ford has said that they won’t transfer ownership until the trucks are completed, so no floor plan payments will be required until they are able to sell the the vehicle.

    While some dealers may choose to stick them out on the front row the intention is not to put them on display until they are ready to sell. Big dealerships have off-site lots where they can store them until the needed module arrives.

    Considering the number of vehicles they have in storage shipping them to dealers now, or really starting weeks ago, is the quickest way to get those trucks sold, since it takes longer to ship a vehicle via rail or truck than shipping boxes of modules via UPS or FedEx.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    RE: the Ford comments…

    Agreed.

    Techs installing chips in the field is fraught with problems. I don’t know for sure, but most of these chips aren’t socketed, so really the ‘chip’ is likely an entire circuit board or module that *can* be installed in the field. That module is probably buried in a maze of wiring and covers, sealed with a tamper-proof marker, and you have to be sure nothing else is damaged while digging around under the dash or wherever.

    Then, you have to test the thing and make sure the vehicle works as a unit. And, the dealer needs to be compensated for the effort of doing all this work.

    Finally, an electrical problem that crops up years from now will result in finger-pointing if the dealer did the final work. I wouldn’t want one of those cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah it won’t be chips, it will be complete modules. Since virtually everything is surface mount the only cost effective method solders all the components simultaneously.

      The module(s) in question will play a big part in what exactly needs to be done and what if any procedural changes were made, if any in FA. In some cases they certainly could just leave the panel covering the module loose in the vehicle.

      It also depends on the architecture of the given module and the system it controls. Some modules need to be configured to the vehicle while others do not. Having the dealers install and program those units that do need vehicle specific configuration will be much easier than it would be to program the modules before installation like they do for the assembly line units. That means no need to match a specific module to a specific vehicle. In some cases the programing on replacement modules are smart. If it hasn’t been configured it will do things like capture the VIN from the bus and store it if that is currently blank.

      Yes the dealers will be compensated. The key to making sure it is done correctly and in a timely manner will be significantly influenced by the setting of payment. Shave it like warranty work and dealers and their techs are unlikely to want to participate and may rush the job. On the other hand throw a ladle of gravy on it and the techs will be lining up to work overtime or come in on their day off to flag 8hrs for a morning’s worth of work.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Scoutdude – great comments. If this is treated as warranty work, dealers and top mechanics won’t want to touch it. Some jobs might be fast and a good tech could make some serious coin on a flat rate payout.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          I wouldn’t call it “warranty work” exactly. In the Pioneer Days, the (import?) dealer would install the “factory” AC, so the techs were completing the vehicles basically. I’m not sure how exactly they were compensated, but the sales department should make sure these techs are well taken care of, if the factory won’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No it isn’t warranty work, what I was referring to was the hrs paid for a specific procedure.

            There are two columns in the flat rate book.

            Book time/customer pay time and warranty time.

            Depending on the specific procedure and mfg the warranty time might only be 70-80% of book time.

            So they need to pay at least book if they want the dealers and techs to be happy about doing this.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    We can purdy much expect automakers to lean on their most profitable X volume and how dare they and whatnot.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Big mistake to have the dealers install chips or complete modules. Dealers will rush the job and many have technicians with little experience. Also not good to have a vehicle that has been sitting on a lot for a long time. There are still a lot of new Ford trucks sitting at Kentucky Speedway waiting for chips along with Amazon returns that are being stored there (Kentucky Speedway lost their NASCAR races for this year).

  • avatar

    This has got to hurt. The Gladiator was the one bright spot in the lineup, each one dumped at my local store had in grease pencil “DO NOT TRADE” and SEND FOR TRIM, prior to the ADP negotiation.

    The brand doesn’t matter, I would be leery of buying a partially assembled car, my dealer experience doesn’t lend me to faith here…also, if the cars aren’t running off the line, what incentive do the assemblers have to care ?

    That they want to ship them means they’ve run out of storage room in the usual (quietly hidden) spaces…..

  • avatar
    John

    Problems solved, bring production back inhouse, or gave a consortium of Auto Manufacturers, set up factories locations where production occurs.

  • avatar

    Side note I saw my first working Gladiator the other day. Bed loaded with a pallet on vinyl windows in front of house getting resided. Saw it again later in the week with a load of trim on a ladder rack. Nice to see.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Yeah, I can’t see “chips” going in anyplace; it’s going to be modules.

    I certainly hope that SRS modules are finished at the factory! I don’t think I’d want to be the one to be the first to power those up on a daily basis!

    At least at the factory, the line worker applying battery power to a vehicle for the first time is at least outside the car, instead of in the vehicle with aforementioned claymores!

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