General Motors announced yesterday that it will temporarily halt production of most of its full size pickup trucks. Thanks to the Detroit Free Press, we’ve got the details on what that means for the company and for consumers. The global semiconductor microchip shortage has left automakers like GM with their hands tied. There have really only been two options for GM to mitigate its microchip-related production issues, either they continue to shy-build vehicles without the necessary microchips, or they temporarily halt assembly line production. The latter option is GM’s current solution, meaning both domestic and international truck plants will see major production schedules shifts for GM trucks.
Three Affected GM Truck Plants
General isn’t quite going full-stop production at the Flint Assembly Plant where the heavy duty trucks like the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD are built. The plant will only operate on a single shift for the week and is expected to resume full-steam on August 2nd. Indiana’s Fort Wayne Assembly Plant, where GM builds the Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, is completely shutting down for an entire week. That’s also the case for the Silao, Mexico Assembly Plant which also helps produce the light-duty 1500 pickups. Both the Fort Wayne and Silao Assembly Plants will reportedly resume production on August 2nd.
GM Faces The Same Looming Problem As Ford
While temporary production halts will cause General Motors to hemorrhage revenue, there’s not really another good way out. The shy-build production method makes sense from a purely quantitative manufacturing standpoint, especially considering the current popularity of GM trucks, but it has its own costly downsides. Having mass numbers of unfinished pickups to store and eventually complete is a logistical nightmare, even when supplies of microchips are at hand. Ford is having the exact same issues on the exact same scale. The exhaustive, five-figure number of F-series trucks laying around Michigan has forced Ford to even consider turning to its dealer network for help retrofitting unfinished pickups as microchips become available.
Losing Money, Losing Features
General Motors will have to find a solution to the same problem. According to the Detroit Free Press, there are roughly 30,000 unfinished light-duty Silverado 1500 and Sierra 1500 trucks idled just between the Fort Wayne and Silao plants. Some of these pickups are built without a fuel management module and/or the automatic start/stop feature. Full size trucks aren’t the only problem for GM either. Production of mid-size SUVs like the Chevy Equinox and GMC Blazer have already had their fair share of halts this year. Even without the requested help of the federal government by a coalition of American automakers, GM looks to try to solve its microchip supply chain problems from the bottom up.
GM spokesperson David Barnas told The Freep that GM will, “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.” And even though GM will see profits this year, CNBC reports that the ongoing microchip shortage could slim those profits by up to $2 billion USD.