General Motors, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, has been forced to halt production at eight of its 15 assembly plants in North America as a worldwide shortage of computer chips intensifies.
The US company owns a number of popular brands, including Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC.
The scarcity of semiconductor chips has hit product makers from Apple to Toyota in recent months, with the UK’s Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warning recently that the issue would strangle the industry’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
A spokesperson for GM said that the situation in North America was “complex and very fluid”, with four of the company’s factories in the US affected by the temporary shutdowns, plus an additional four sites between Canada and Mexico.
The halt in production from Monday for two weeks will affect GM’s most profitable product lines: sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks.
“During the downtime, we will repair and ship unfinished vehicles from many impacted plants, including Fort Wayne and Silao, to dealers to help meet the strong customer demand for our products,” a spokesperson said.
The other sites affected include GM’s Wentzville, Missouri plant; CAMI Assembly in Canada and San Luis Potosi Assembly in Mexico; its Lansing Delta Township plant; the Spring Hill Tennessee factory and its Ramos, Mexico plant.
Last year, GM produced 6.76 million vehicles, making it the fourth largest car manufacturer in the world.
“Although the situation remains complex and very fluid, we remain confident in our team’s ability to continue finding creative solutions to minimise the impact on our highest-demand and capacity-constrained vehicles,” the company added.
GM is the latest automaker to be hit by the shortage of semiconductors. Earlier this week, Ford said it would cut truck production after its August sales dropped by 33% because of the shortfall.
Production of advanced computer chips, which are essential for all kinds of modern products like smartphones, games consoles and computers, has suffered since the COVID-19 pandemic struck last year with factories in Taiwan, South Korea and China severely affected.
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