General Motors has done everything it can to protect production of its in-demand and highly profitable full-size pickups from the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips used in many car parts.
But now GM will be pausing most of its pickup production in North America.
In a notice to union members, the automaker said it will cut production Monday at its Flint sssembly plant that makes the full-size heavy duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant that builds the full-size light-duty pickups and the Silao plant in Mexico, which also builds full-size light-duty pickups.
"These most recent scheduling adjustments are being driven by temporary parts shortages caused by semiconductor supply constraints from international markets experiencing COVID-19-related restrictions," GM spokesman David Barnas said in a statement. "We expect it to be a near-term issue."
The news comes less than seven days after GM said it would have to idle four of its North American plants that build midsize SUVs, starting July 19 and running for two weeks due to the chips shortage. Additionally, at CAMI Assembly in Ontario, where GM builds the Equinox, GM will extend downtime to Aug. 16. CAMI was supposed to resume production next week following its scheduled two-week summer shutdown.
Since early this year the auto industry has had to either idle assembly plants or build vehicles shy of all the parts and then park them to await the arrival of chips. The result is comparatively empty dealer lots and a scramble to get as many vehicles built and shipped as possible when parts do arrive.
The chips, made mostly in Taiwan, are used in a variety of electronics. They are in tight supply after demand for them rose during the COVID-19 pandemic as people bought laptops and other personal electronics that also use them. The chips go into a variety of car parts.
"The global semiconductor shortage remains complex and very fluid, but GM's global purchasing and supply chain, engineering and manufacturing teams continue to find creative solutions and make strides working with the supply base to minimize the impact to our highest-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers," Barnas said.