GM Halts Production at Nearly All U.S. Plants, Chip Shortage to Blame

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

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]

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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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 03, 2021

    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.)

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 03, 2021

    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.

  • RobbyG $100k+...for a Jeep. Are they selling these in fantasy land?Twin turbo inline 6 paired to an 8-speed transmission. Yet still only gets 14mpg.Whatever money you think you would save over a V-8 will be spent 2-3x amount fixing these things when they blow up.
  • Alan Well the manufacturers are catching up with stocks. This means shortages of parts is reducing. Stocks are building around the world even Australia and last year had the most vehicles ever sold here.
  • Larry You neglected to mention that the 2024 Atlas has a US Government 5-Star Safety Rating.
  • Alan Why is it that Toyota and Nissan beat their large SUVs (Patrol/300 Series) with an ugly stick and say they are upmarket? Whilst they are beating the vehicles with an ugly stick they reduce the off road ability rather than improve it.As I've stated in previous comments you are far better off waiting for the Patrol to arrive than buy an overpriced vehicle.
  • Alan How many people do you see with a 4x4 running mud tyres? How many people do you see with a 4x4 running massive rims and low profile tyres? How many people have oversize mirrors for towing once in a blue moon? How many 4x4s do you see lifted? How many people care what tyres they run to save fuel? The most comfortable tyres are more or less the most economical.
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