General Motors has announced it will idle production at nearly all of its North American assembly plants starting next Monday, this in response to the ongoing global shortage of microchips.
Nearly all really means nearly all. It’s actually quicker to list the facilities that will continue to operate next week. For example, there will be activity at the plants in Arlington, Texas (full-size SUVs), Flint, Michigan (pickups), Bowling Green, Kentucky (Corvettes) and in Lansing, Michigan, where Camaros and Cadillac Blackwings are assembled.
Elsewhere, production will be idled as of 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,” said GM spokesman Dan Flores. In that case, the shutdown is caused by the pausing of production of the Chevrolet Bolt as part of a battery recall (and the fact that the supplier, LG, has yet to find a solution to the problem).
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is not without blame in this either, though GM’s Flores was hesitant to pinpoint the significance of that exactly. He said simply, “Covid is driving supply constraints in countries that produce semiconductor chips," Flores said. "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.”
Activity will continue inside plants such as Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Silao, Mexico, where pickup trucks are made, even if production stops.
“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,” added Flores.
As for the affected plants, here's a list put together by USA Today:
- Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Silao, Mexico: closed for a week beginning Monday. Expected to reopen Sept. 13.
- Wentzville, Missouri: closed for two weeks beginning Monday.
- CAMI, Ontario, and San Luis Potosí, Mexico: shut down until Sept. 27. Equinox manufacturing has already been halted there since August 16.
- Lansing, Michigan: shut down for two weeks beginning Monday. The company hopes to resume production the week of September 20.
- Spring Hill, Tennessee: two-week shutdown as of Monday. Restart the week of September 20.
- Ramos, Mexico: two more weeks of downtime. Production of the Equinox will be halted until October 4.
If you're in the market for a GM vehicle, chances are you'll have to be patient. And the situation isn't necessarily any easier at other automakers. Let's just say that if your lease is up in the next few months, there's never been a better time to buy back your vehicle.