Chip shortages force more cuts at North American auto plants

U.S. automakers are expanding production cuts at some North American plants as they cope with a worsening global shortage of semiconductors.

Representational File photo - A car is seen on the production line in a car plant. (REUTERS)
Representational File photo - A car is seen on the production line in a car plant.

Chips for use in cars and trucks have been harder to come by as semiconductor makers have allocated more capacity to consumer products. The pandemic has caused a surge in orders for smartphones, TVs and computers as people try to make extended life at home more bearable, leaving less capacity for a stronger-than-expected rebound in vehicle demand. Consultant AlixPartners said the global chip shortage could cost automakers $61 billion in lost sales this year.

Here’s the current situation for the major auto manufacturers.

General Motors Co.

Feb. 3: GM said it will close three North American plants the week of Feb. 8. The factory in Fairfax, Kansas, makes the Cadillac XT4 crossover, and the facilities in Ingersoll, Ontario, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, build the Chevrolet Equinox small SUV, among other models.

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Ford Motor Co.

Feb. 4: Ford said it is cutting output of its biggest money maker, the F-150 pickup truck, at its Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City factories the week of Feb. 8. Dearborn will run one of three shifts, and Kansas City will run two of three.

Feb. 1: The Chicago plant that assembles the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs ran one of three shifts for a week, and the Louisville, Kentucky SUV plant that makes the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair was temporarily closed. Ford also shuttered its Oakville, Ontario, plant for the week partly because of the semiconductor shortage.

Jan. 26-27: Ford shortened two shifts and canceled one shift at both the Dearborn and Kansas City F-150 plants.

Jan. 8: The company idled output at the Louisville SUV plant for a week.

Stellantis NV

Feb. 4: Stellantis, formed recently from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and PSA Group, will idle a Canadian plant in Windsor, Ontario, that makes the Pacifica minivan for three weeks starting Feb. 8, according to Unifor, the union representing the plant.

Jan. 29: The company said it will stop production for one week at its Belvidere, Illinois, plant, home of the Jeep Cherokee, to “align production with demand."

Jan. 8: Stellantis said it would idle its Brampton, Ontario, factory, which makes the Dodge Charger and Challenger, for the month of January. It also extended downtime in January at the Toluca, Mexico, plant that makes the Jeep Compass.

Tesla Inc.

Jan. 27: Tesla is working to manage the global semiconductor shortage, which “may have a temporary impact" on production, Zachary Kirkhorn, the company’s chief financial officer, said during the fourth-quarter earnings call without providing details.

Toyota Motor Corp.

Jan. 9: Toyota cut output of its Tundra pickup truck, manufactured in San Antonio, Texas, by 40% in January, according to spokesman Scott Vazin. “Thus far only Tundra is impacted in North America."

Nissan Motor Co.

Feb. 5: Nissan plans to cut a day of production for the truck line at its Canton, Mississippi, facility on Feb. 8. The Japanese automaker already eliminated two days of Frontier and Titan output there on Jan. 22 and Jan. 25.

Honda Motor Co.

Feb. 5: Honda’s Ohio, Alabama, Indiana, Georgia and Canadian factories are handling the chip shortage “differently to maximize the supply of these critical parts," a spokesman said in an email. This includes “reducing production on certain days, but since it is a fluid situation, scheduled production adjustments could change."

Daimler AG

Feb. 5: The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is currently “running as planned," a Daimler spokesperson said.


Feb. 5: The shortage hasn’t led to any disruptions at the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that assembles sport-utility vehicles. The German automaker ordered the necessary volume for 2021 on time and expects “suppliers to deliver according to contract in line with the orders," it said in a email.

Hyundai Motor Co.

Feb. 5: Hyundai is “closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with our supplier partners to maintain stable production," the company said in a statement.

First Published Date: 06 Feb 2021, 09:19 AM IST
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