GM, Ford Halt Some Production as Chip Shortage Worsens

Gm Ap
AP file

DETROIT (AP) — The global shortage of computer chips is getting worse, forcing automakers to temporarily close factories including those that build popular pickup trucks.

General Motors announced Thursday that it would pause production at seven North American plants during the next two weeks, including two that make the company's top-selling Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

Ford will stop making pickups at its Kansas City Assembly Plant for the next two weeks. Shifts will be cut at two more truck plants in Dearborn, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky.

“These most recent scheduling adjustments are being driven by the continued parts shortages caused by semiconductor supply constraints from international markets experiencing COVID-19-related restrictions,” GM said in a statement.

Industry analysts say the delta variant of the novel coronavirus has hit employees at chip factories in southeast Asia hard, forcing some plants to close. That's worsened a chip shortage that was starting to improve earlier in the summer.

“Now the prospects for new sales for the rest of the year continue to dim with the reality that tight inventory will last well into 2022,” said Kevin Roberts, director of industry insights for Cargurus.com.

Demand for trucks, SUVs and other autos is strong, but buyers are growing frustrated due to lack of inventory and high prices. U.S. auto sales were expected to fall about 9% in August compared with a year ago, while the average vehicle sale price hit over $41,000, a record, according to J.D. Power. Sales of Ford's F-Series trucks fell nearly 23% for the month.

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