Detroit Revises Assembly Routine Due to Semiconductor Shortage


On Thursday, Ford issued a statement explaining that some of its vehicles will be manufactured without the electronic modules dependent on semiconductors. While the automaker faulted the global semiconductor shortage, it also made mention of the winter storms from last month. A few shifts will reportedly be cut until supply chains stabilize while other lines will be constructing vehicles minus some electronics. The plan is for Blue Oval to hold onto them until more chips come in, minimizing production losses.

General Motors proposed a similar solution last week and has since started building 2021 light-duty full-size pickups without a fuel management module.

“Due to the global shortage of semiconductors impacting the global auto industry, we are making Active Fuel Management/Dynamic Fuel Management unavailable on certain 2021 model year full-size trucks,” said GM spokesperson Michelle Malcho.

Ford’s plan is to wait on the parts while GM thinks it should be able to get away with selling debatably incomplete vehicles. Worst case, the General said that some of its products will leave the factory yielding lower fuel economy than they were originally rated for.

Frankly, the trend of putting unfinished products on the road isn’t our favorite. But the industry seems willing to sell a vehicle without certain features when the alternative is not selling one at all. Ford may not be adept at predicting the future, but it should at least be commended for waiting to put finished automobiles on the market.

From Ford:

The global semiconductor shortage  combined with parts shortages created by the central U.S. winter storm in February – is prompting Ford to build F-150 trucks and Edge SUVs in North America without certain parts, including some electronic modules that contain scarce semiconductors. Ford will build and hold the vehicles for a number of weeks, then ship the vehicles to dealers once the modules are available and comprehensive quality checks are complete.

Ford is canceling the night shift today and both shifts Friday at Louisville Assembly Plant due to a semiconductor-related part shortage. Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair production is expected to resume Monday on short shifts, with full production scheduled to resume Tuesday.

In addition, we are taking further down days at our Cologne plant, suspending Fiesta production March 1-16 as well as March 22.

The automaker said that, if the semiconductor shortage scenario persists through the first half of 2021, that Ford’s adjusted EBIT could backslide by up to $2.5 billion. General Motors also predicted a $2 billion loss if chips availability doesn’t improve, adding that production at Fairfax and CAMI would remain shuttered until mid-April. The company is also extending downtime at San Luis Potosi through the end of March.

[Image: ehrlif/Shutterstock]

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