Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chevy Equinox plants idle from microchip shortage

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. and Stellantis NV said they are idling more plants because of the microchip shortage, affecting production of models from the Chevrolet Equinox to the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The constraint of the parts located deep in the supply chain and used in assisted driving functions and heated steering wheels is not letting up, Jeep CEO Christian Meunier said this week during a media roundtable. He estimates the issue could persist for another six months to a year. It, however, should not affect Jeep's 2025 plans to offer a battery-electric vehicle in each of its segments.

Grand Cherokee production at Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit has been affected because the microchip shortage.

"The chip shortage obviously is still going," Meunier said. "It’s still not fixed. We’re still managing through it. I think it’s not a matter of days or weeks. I think it’s going to be a long thing."

The production stoppages have resulted in limited available stock on dealer lots. Meunier, however, said the company is taking advantage of some of the benefits the inventory shortage does offer even as it includes Jeep's most popular vehicles.

"The tight supply the dealers have to manage makes the business more healthy," he said. "There’s less push. There's more pull. Customer experience is better, because the dealers have more time to take care of the customers for the most part. The margins are higher. Altogether, a challenge can become an opportunity. That’s how we manage it, and so far, so good. We’re at a pretty good beginning of the year."

Production at Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, home to the two-row Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs, will be down through Aug. 9. The week of Aug. 2 is a previously scheduled down week to perform maintenance and begin work for future models.

Stellantis also will idle through the end of July the Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario; Jeep Compass plant in Toluca, Mexico; and the Jeep Cherokee crossover plant in Belvidere, Illinois. Next week is a previously scheduled down week for Belvidere.

Ram 1500 production in Sterling Heights will resume the week of July 26. The Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio, home to the Jeep Wrangler SUV and Gladiator pickup, will resume production Monday after being down this week for maintenance.

The Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse are among the GM models affected by the latest plant downtime resulting from the global semiconductor shortage.

At GM, Lansing Delta Township Assembly, home of the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs, will take downtime starting next week through the week of July 26.

During that time, the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 and GMC Acadia plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, also will halt production. Also pausing will be production of the Equinox and GMC Terrain compact SUVs at San Luis Potosi Assembly and the Equinox and Chevrolet Blazer SUVs at Ramos Assembly, both in Mexico.

Equinox production at CAMI Assembly in Ontario also is down through Aug. 16.

Despite the disruption, GM was able to increase shipments of Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickup trucks out of Wentzville, Missouri, by 30,000 vehicles since mid-May, hitting the goal Wednesday. The plant will resume production Monday following downtime related to changeover for the next-generation vehicles.

"The global semiconductor shortage remains complex and very fluid," GM spokesman David Barnas said in a statement, "but GM’s global purchasing and supply chain, engineering and manufacturing teams continue to find creative solutions and make strides working with the supply base to maximize production of our highest-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble