GM to suspend pickup production in Indiana due to chip shortage

Trucks roll off the assembly line at the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on July 25, 2018.

John Gress | Reuters

DETROIT — General Motors will shut down pickup truck production at its Indiana plant for two weeks next month due to the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that has been crippling the global auto industry for more than a year.

The supply of chips, which are critical parts for new cars, was expected to gradually improve for automakers over the course of this year, but other supply chain issues, including Russia’s ongoing incursion into Ukraine, have clouded those expectations.

GM president Mark Reuss recently told CNBC that chip shipments are “a little better,” but the crisis isn’t over yet. “We haven’t gotten past it yet,” he said last week. “We are doing everything possible”.

The GM plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will be closed from April 4 to April 11, the company said on Friday. The company produces highly profitable full-size Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups.

Automakers prioritize chips whenever possible for their most sought-after and profitable vehicles. For Detroit automakers, it’s pickup trucks and large SUVs.

“Overall, we are seeing better stability in semiconductor shipments in the first quarter compared to last year as a whole. This resulted in improvements in our production and deliveries during the first three months of the year,” GM said in a statement on Friday. “However, there is still uncertainty and unpredictability in the semiconductor supply base, and we are actively working with our suppliers to mitigate potential future issues.”

GM also builds the Silverado and Sierra pickups at plants in Mexico and Canada. It manufactures larger heavy duty versions in Flint, Michigan.

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