GM to temporarily shut trio of plants as chip shortage pinches

David Welch

General Motors Co. warned that a global semiconductor shortage will reduce production this year as the carmaker plans downtime at three plants, becoming the latest in a string of automotive companies impacted by limited chip availability.

The company said Wednesday that three North American plants, including one in Kansas and others in Mexico and Canada, would shut down the week of Feb. 8. It will also operate a factory in South Korea at half-capacity that week, it said.

General Motors employees work on the assembly line Friday, April 26, 2019 at Fairfax Assembly & Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Kansas. The Fairfax facility produces the Cadillac XT4.

GM has worked to maintain output at its four full-size pickup and sport-utility vehicle plants – which account for the bulk of its profits. But the situation “remains very fluid,” it said in a statement.

Separately, GM said it has idled its Corvette sports car plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, this week due to a parts shortage unrelated to semiconductors, said a spokesman. The closure is due to transmission parts.

The shutdowns will hurt GM in key segments like small crossover SUVs. The plant in Fairfax, Kansas, makes the Cadillac XT4 crossover, and the factories losing output in Ingersoll, Ontario, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, build the Chevrolet Equinox small SUV, among other models.

Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and other carmakers announced production cuts last month due to a semiconductor shortage. Chipmakers are short on supply because they allocated more of their production to consumer-electronics producers after global automakers shuttered plants last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.