The Oklahoman

GM to halt production at most North America assembly plants

- Jamie L. LaReau

DETROIT – General Motors will idle nearly all its assembly plants in North America starting Monday as the COVID-19 pandemic affects production of semiconduc­tor chips overseas.

GM said its Arlington Assembly in Texas, where it makes its highly profitable full-size SUVs, will run regular production next week, along with Flint Assembly in Michigan, where it makes its heavy-duty pickups; Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky, where it makes its Corvette; and a portion of Lansing Grand River Assembly in Michigan, where it will make some Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac Blackwing cars.

But all other assembly plants in North America will be idle starting 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, referring to that plant’s shutdown over Chevy Bolt recall issues.

The industry already has been experienci­ng a global shortage of the chips, used in a variety of car parts, since early this year.

The chips are also used in small electronic­s, and as more workers and children stayed home from work and school last year during the pandemic, demand for personal electronic­s, such as laptops, rose and created a shortage of chips.

Automakers have had to either temporaril­y idle production or build vehicles just shy of all the parts to await chip parts to finish production and ship the vehicles to showrooms. New-car inventory has remained tight and prices high.

“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 in places such as Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana and Silao Assembly in Mexico, where light-duty full-size pickups are made, even if production halts.

“During the downtime, we will repair and ship unfinished vehicles from many impacted plants, including Fort Wayne and Silao, to dealers to help meet the strong customer demand for our products,” Flores said.

“Although the situation remains complex and very fluid, we remain confident in our team’s ability to continue finding creative solutions to minimize the impact on our highest-demand and capacity-constraine­d vehicles,” Flores said.

Here are the production changes GM is making at the affected plants :

h Fort Wayne and Silao Assembly plants to take a week of downtime starting Monday. GM expects to restart regular production on Sept. 13.

hWentzvill­e Assembly in Missouri, where GM builds its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups and Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, will take downtime for two weeks starting Monday.

h CAMI Assembly (Canada) and San Luis Potosi Assembly (Mexico) will take two additional weeks of downtime through the week of Sept. 27. Production of the Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV, which GM makes at both facilities, has been down since Aug. 16. San Luis Potosi also builds the GMC Terrain midsize SUV.

 ?? GENERAL MOTORS VIA USA TODAY ?? Workers are seen on the assembly line at General Motors’ Orion Assembly plant, where GM builds its Bolt EV and the self-driving test cars.
GENERAL MOTORS VIA USA TODAY Workers are seen on the assembly line at General Motors’ Orion Assembly plant, where GM builds its Bolt EV and the self-driving test cars.

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