General Motors is extending shutdowns at some of its assembly plants through mid-April. The shutdowns started in early February as the automaker grapples with a global shortage of semiconductors. Despite the shortage, the company is doing everything it can to keep truck and SUV plants humming.
GM says its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada and Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Kansas will continue to be shutdown until mid-April. Meanwhile, a plant in San Luis Potosí, Mexico will reopen later this month. All three facilities shutdown on Feb. 8th. GM says its Gravatai plant in Brazil will see downtime in April and May as well.
The common thread between the plants GM is targeting for shutdown is the fact they do not produce trucks or full-size SUV’s. GM has publicly confirmed they are shifting their limited supply of semiconductor parts to their truck and SUV plants. The logic behind this strategy is simple: they’re the profit centers. Demand for the company’s redesigned 2021 full-size SUVs remains high and GM’s ability to satisfy it equals a significant contribution to their bottomline.
GM did have to idle trunk plants in Wentzville, Missouri, Arlington, Texas and Fort Wayne, Indiana last month due to severe weather. Extreme temperatures resulted in commercial power shortages and other infrastructure issues.
The automaker says its supply chain team is working to find a remedy for the semiconductor shortage. The global shortage is the result of semiconductor production shutdowns in 2020 due to COVID-19. Since semiconductor production has ramped back up, much of the supply has been dedicated to consumer electronics. Meanwhile, global automakers have been starved for this critical component. A modern vehicle has anywhere form 500 to 1,500 semiconductors in various electronic parts.
GM in particular is having supply issues with its body control modules, a critical component in any vehicle.
Between CAMI and Fairfax, about 3,500 hourly workers have been impacted by the shutdowns. Workers are technically laid off during these shutdowns.