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Chip woes: GM eliminates start/stop feature on some full-size trucks, SUVs

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — The global semiconductor shortage is forcing General Motors Co. to eliminate the automatic stop/start feature on some full-size 2021 trucks and SUVs, the automaker said Tuesday. 

The move affects only vehicles equipped with 5.3L and 6.2L V-8 engines mated to 10-speed transmissions. Models involved are:

  • Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban
  • GMC Yukon and Yukon XL
  • Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • GMC Sierra 1500
The 2021 Cadillac Escalade Sport

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"By taking this measure, it will enable us to continue production of our high-demand full-size SUV and pick-ups as the industry continues to rebound and strengthen," GM spokesman Kevin Kelly said in a statement. "Most of the affected vehicles will experience a minor reduction in fuel economy and customers will receive a $50 (U.S.) credit on the MSRP for affected vehicles."

The stop/start function is intended to save fuel by automatically idling a vehicle's engine during stops in traffic. The affected models have some of GM's lowest fuel economy numbers. For instance, a Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V-8, 10-speed transmission and four-wheel-drive averages 19 miles per gallon, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Automakers have been battling the shortage of semiconductors all year — pushing them to cancel production at various plants around the world. The lack of semiconductors found throughout vehicles from the seats to the steering wheel is expected to cost the industry billions in revenue and millions of production units. Experts expect relief to come by the third quarter.

Stellantis NV on Tuesday said it is extending downtime to next week. The Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario; Jeep Cherokee plant in Belvidere, Illinois; and Jeep Compass plant in Toluca, Mexico, all will be down.

"Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry," spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.

GM's news comes after the automaker said last week it would increase production of the Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD full-size pickups at its Flint Assembly plant by about 1,000 trucks per month beginning in mid-July. The automaker has managed to keep production there running with no shutdowns stemming from the chip shortage.

GM also said last week it would ship about 30,000 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups from mid-May through the week of July 5. Those vehicles built at the Wentzville, Missouri, plant were held there awaiting parts due to the chip shortage. 

Staff Writer Breana Noble contributed.

Twitter: @bykaleahall