By on September 2, 2021


The chip shortage has struck again.

General Motors is going to temporarily halt production at most of its North American assembly plants, starting Monday, because the shortage of semiconductor chips continues.

Arlington Assembly in Texas, which makes full-size SUVs, will continue to run regular production next week. As will Flint Assembly in Michigan, which is where the company builds heavy-duty pickup trucks. Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky, home of the Chevrolet Corvette, will also continue to work. Finally, Lansing Grand River Assembly in Michigan will have partial production. Some Chevy Camaros and Cadillac Blackwings are built there.

The rest of the company’s plants in North America will go idle on Monday.

“All the announcements we made today are related to the chips shortage, the only plant down that’s not related to that, is Orion Assembly,” GM spokesman Dan Flores told The Detroit Free Press.

All because of the chip shortage. Except for Orion Assembly, which is already shut down due to Chevrolet Bolt recall issues.

Semiconductor chips are used in a plethora of different automotive parts, and there’s been a shortage during the pandemic as demand for personal electronics rose and as production issues, like fires, occurred.

Workers being out sick with COVID and/or COVID-related restrictions can also cause problems with semiconductor-chip production.

“COVID is driving supply constraints in countries that produce semiconductor chips,” Flores told the Freep. “But I can’t say if it’s because employees have a high rate of infection or if it’s the government putting restrictions on plants due to the pandemic.”

This forces automakers to either halt production or build cars without the chips. In the latter scenario, cars are held until the chips can be installed before finally being shipped to dealers.

The shortage has kept new-car inventories tight, thus leading to higher prices for both new and used vehicles.

Some GM plants will remain active on some level, even if production grinds to a halt. The Freep points to Fort Wayne Assembly and Mexico’s Silao Assembly, both of which build light-duty trucks, as examples.

“During the downtime, we will repair and ship unfinished vehicles from many impacted plants, including Fort Wayne and Silao, to dealers to help meet the strong customer demand for our products,” Flores told the paper. “Although the situation remains complex and very fluid, we remain confident in our team’s ability to continue finding creative solutions to minimize the impact on our highest-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles.”

He added: “What we announced this morning is what we know now. I can’t speculate if something will be announced next week or if there’ll be additional impacts. We manage this on a day-to-day basis.”

The Free Press has a full list of affected changes at its site.

[Image: GM]

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34 Comments on “GM Halts Production at Nearly All U.S. Plants, Chip Shortage to Blame...”

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    GM was already delivering some trucks without a couple of features due to the chip shortage. It seemed to make them more attractive to me. How about they ship all vehicles without auto start-stop and without all driver assistance technology? Would there be enough chips then? How about without OnStar? How about shipping them without all of the tech crap that no customer ever asked for?

    • 0 avatar

      Yea I feel like there should be a fuel economy waiver until the end of the shortage which would allow start stop to be dropped. Not only does it affect the overall economy but look at the situation now with recent hurricanes where people legitimately need cars.

      • 0 avatar

        I shudder to think what would happen if I was on the way to work or the store, and got into an accident where my car was written-off! There’s NOTHING on the lots, and you probably couldn’t plead with the insurance company to pick up the rental $$$ until you could place an order for the equivalent of the old vehicle, if it was still available at all!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Maybe just deliver the truck as a rolling chassis and let me pick a powertrain from the GM Performance Parts catalog. One can get a 572 running sans chips. Don’t bother with the infotainment either…just leave a double din sized hole. There, chip problem solved.

  • avatar

    The Chevy/GM dealer in my town has an almost empty parking lot. Their website lists 7 new vehicles. They usually have at least 120 new vehicles on the lot.

  • avatar

    Ford, Nissan, and GM dealers are about empty around here. Stellantis isn’t great but not as bad as those 3. H/K/G seem only a little light. Toyota and Euro brands are hit-and-miss.

  • avatar

    The Verge has a great article/interview that explains the supply chain for chip manufacturing and why it’s so easily disrupted. Worth a read.

  • avatar

    Every time you turn off the auto stop start a bureaucrat gets his wings:)

  • avatar

    How difficult is it to make computer chips? This guy does it in his garage.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, I didn’t bother watching it.

      What’s the likelihood some random guy can fabricate the less than micron width circuits in his garage with secondhand cameras and lithographic equipment off Craigslist? And have access to the circuit details and layers? Zilch. Mechanix Illustrated, Science and Mechanics and Popular Science used to feature some grinning oaf each month who was building flying cars in his backyard, or fabricating the second stage of his rocket to Saturn, with dreams of going commercial by the end of next week. The favorite invention from this crowd of loons was of course some engine or other that was so efficient that it would get you 200 mpg and break every law of thermodynamics, thus yielding perpetual motion, but not strain the credulity of conspiracy theorists and local reporters, always thick on the ground and willing to believe in complete foolishness.

      How hard can it be to make chips? You actually need to pose this question?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, this is bad news.

    The original article says this pause is for two weeks. That may be optimistic. The economic ripples will be felt for a while.

    My local Toyota dealer is down to 45 new cars, and the Kia dealer down the road has only 23 new cars. The Hyundai mega-dealer has 26 new cars. All used to have five times that many.

    Now they’re advertising how they’ll take in your lease or used car for good money, and you don’t have to buy anything. They’re desperate for inventory.

    • 0 avatar

      Used car prices are insane. My mother-in-law (87) just totaled her third car in three years (yeah, I know, she ought to stop driving), so now we’re looking for another lightly used car. It’s the absolute worst time to be looking for a used car.

    • 0 avatar

      So over the last 3-4 weeks used car prices had leveled out near me and pickup prices had actually fallen a bit, pretty sure this will mean it goes back up again.

  • avatar

    This should temporarily raise the average quality index of existing vehicles.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    One would think that this would make automakers pause and reflect, whether to commit automobiles further down into the electronic appliance rabbit hole.

    Alas, it appears in their rush towards electrification and connectivity, they will maintain or double down on the same course.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt it, the smart ones are waiting. GM wants you to think its on board but its not, which is why they don’t highlight the Bolt’s sales issues and the things they do highlight are high profit niche stuff (Hummer EV). Heard much from Ford lately on the Not Mustang? Well, other than excuses and missives such as “oh we expected it to barely sell”. Seriously Dearborn if you’re reading this, figure out whomever was on the marketing and business end of that project and fire them now before they sink your company further.

      • 0 avatar

        Not that the Bolt is a prime example of anything, given GM’s (gm’s?) recommendation to keep them outside, lest they become the source of a full-house barbecue!

      • 0 avatar

        I have seen a few articles on Ford highlighting the Mach-E stating they are still seeing double digit month to month sales increases (I think July was somewhere around 3500 units, which to me is not bad.

        The reality is these shortages are messing with even fairly simple products. I have run into small semi conductor switches (solid state switching) etc with huge lead times that never happened before. Stuff you could get at digikey any day of the week now has 10-12 week lead times.

  • avatar

    I leased the the last CT5 to arrive at my local Cadillac dealership in late June. Today their website shows exactly two XT5s in stock. Having worked for Oldsmobile for fourteen years, I knew the best lease deals would be in May and June only. They held the car for me because I had been looking and waiting since January.I had also worked with the salesman there at a Penske location ten years ago. The June lease was $1,369 down with a payment of $369 plus tax. The current lease (as of July 1) for the same luxury model is now $3,349 down with a payment of $439 per month. Of course I would never sign a 39 month contract; in California that means you pay an entire year’s registration fee to drive the car for three months. My contract was written for 36 months.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Just ask Lays to make more chips.

  • avatar

    Every time I check KBB of my cars, it goes up. That even includes the Bolt, which probably won’t have its recalled battery cells replaced for years. What a weird situation.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not saying it isn’t but KBB usually is fiction.

      • 0 avatar

        CreditKarma updates the value of my Accord using, I think, KBB numbers every month, and it’s still on the decline; IIRC, this started a couple months ago.

        Who knows about ANYTHING anymore! Who stated “may you live in interesting times??!” They certainly didn’t have the last eighteen months in mind! Or did they??!!

  • avatar

    They’re losing market share every year, they’re trying to save payroll. And blaming the chip shortage for slow sales. Their investors are stupid and they don’t know that GM is close to getting rid of buick soon.

  • avatar

    Arlington and Flint – I wonder why they prioritized those plants?

    Background: When I worked for old GM around the turn of the century, I was once given access to the Double Secret profit figures by carline. At the time, you could have eliminated 20% of GM’s vehicle offerings and profit would have increased (significantly). [You could have kept going, but we will keep this PG rated.]

    TL;DR: GM is managed better now than it was two decades ago.

    (The careful reader will note that Fort Wayne and Silao will also be shipping vehicles.)

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    GM has lost of its market share especially when Toyota is outselling GM in the US. Eventually GM will become a take over target and that might be what Mary Barra is planning to downsize GM to make them more profitable and look for another car company to merge with. Making GM more profitable will make it more attractive for a potential takeover. My parents and grandparents were and I have been a loyal GM customer for a century (me for 46 years) but I don’t like most of GMs current products and their reliability has steadily gone downhill. Ford has some products that I like but they have quality issues as well and Stellantis I won’t bother with. I have been overall satisfied with the Hondas that I have owned and would buy another Honda along with Toyota and Mazda.

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