It’s no surprise that automotive computer chips are harder to find than potato chips at a Beachbody convention. GM has been hit hard by the shortage, forced to idle production of its most profitable machines while choosing to de-content some of their vehicles in a bid to keep the lines humming.
Truck production will take another hit this week, with a trio of pickup plants scheduled to fall silent for seven days starting on August 9th.
According to a report by the Detroit News, The General confirmed yesterday that their Heavy Duty plant in Flint, plus the light-duty outfits in Mexico and Indiana, will go offline this coming Monday. The company figures a week’s break will ease the situation and plans to have the place rocking again within a week but that timeline could change – for better or worse – depending on what is an increasingly fluid situation.
And, before you ask, this is a different shutdown than the one on which we reported earlier. Monday’s action will mark the second time GM truck production has halted thanks to a shortage of semiconductors, though the HD facility in Flint did manage to retain one shift during that hiccup. That will not be the case this time around.
Barren dealer lots should be familiar to most of our readers by this point in the calendar year 2021, and the following list of temporarily shuttered GM factories should explain why. In addition to the truck stoppage mentioned above, facilities at Spring Hill, Lansing, CAMI (Canada) Ramos (Mexico), and San Luis (Mexico) have all been down since July 19. The crew in Tennessee is not scheduled to restart until Monday, Lansing resumes on August 16th, while San Luis and CAMI shutdowns could potentially stretch into September. All those plants assemble money-making crossovers and SUVs, the type consumers typically snap up by the yaffle during normal times. Models include – among others – the XT4/XT5, Acadia, Equinox, and Terrain.
Alert readers will recall that, in a bid to keep a trickle of trucks flowing to hungry dealers, GM ceased including some chip-driven features such as start/stop and Dynamic Fuel Management. Your author recently spent a week in a GMC Sierra powered by a 5.3L V8 that was affected by these changes and can report that fuel economy did take a small hit compared to equivalent testing in an equally-optioned truck last year. Overall performance while towing a heavy trailer was unaffected, as you’d likely expect.
GM is hardly alone in this boat, with plenty of other manufacturers dealing with production challenges of their own. The global chip shortage is said to have stemmed from the pandemic’s early days, in which car production waned by demand for electronics by house-bound humans skyrocketed. Chip suppliers, then directed their flow of product in that direction, a blip that has yet to smooth out in the favor of automakers.
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