For the better part of two years, the global economy has been plagued by supply shortages in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to fuel increases in the cost of, well, pretty much everything.
One of the early and prominent indicators of the supply crunch was the auto industry, which was left without vital components amid hiccups in the lengthy, complex semiconductor supply chain.
Without enough advanced electronics to equip the gadgets in their new cars, automakers were forced to make incomplete vehicles, or, in many cases, halt their factories altogether to allow supplies to catch up.
Three years after the outbreak of the pandemic on U.S. shores, signs abound that the supply issues are finally easing, and one automaker now has the opposite problem — not enough buyers amid a surge in production.
General Motors, according to reports, will temporarily shut down its truck plant in northern Indiana beginning late next month because, it says, inventory is beginning to exceed demand. It's not just any factory, either: the Fort Wayne plant makes the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and other high-priced, sought-after full-size pickups.
Observers suggested that the move could be a harbinger of troubling issues in the broader auto market. Although forecasts expect car sales to rise this year after a tough 2022, a host of factors — from higher interest rates to rising energy prices — could dent demand just as production is finally ramping up across the industry.
GM, for its part, maintained that demand for its vehicles has remained “consistent;” the Fort Wayne plant, the company said, simply churned out more trucks in recent weeks.
The two-week shutdown is scheduled to begin March 27.