The microchip shortage gets worse every day.
First, it was the Chevrolet Camaro, Malibu, and Equinox. Then came the Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 full-size trucks. Now, the Chevy Colorado mid-size truck and its GMC Canyon corporate cousin have been hit by the ongoing semiconductor shortage. It's not quite a full-blown crisis for General Motors but the situation is not good. The Detroit Free Press has seen a memo informing the 3,500 employees of the Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri that it will be idled for two weeks beginning on March 29.
A company spokesperson confirmed the news in an official statement. "GM continues to leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers," the official said. "We continue to work closely with our supply base to find solutions for our suppliers' semiconductor requirements and to mitigate impact on GM."
The automaker's full-size vans are also built at Wentzville, but they remain unaffected by the chip shortage. GM also plans to move ahead with previously scheduled plant downtime by two weeks to May 24 through July 19 in order to "allow for more time to build product" during the second half of the year. However, a couple of plant workers who wish to remain anonymous claim more than 20,000 Colorados and Canyons remain in a holding area waiting for chips. They're fully built otherwise but won't be shipped to dealerships until chip supplies are resumed.
On a brighter note, GM confirmed it will bring back online its mid-size SUV plant in Mexico on April 5 after supply teams managed to secure enough chips for final assembly. The global semiconductor chip shortage kicked into high gear earlier this year when automakers' supply shelves began to run dry of the crucial component.
These chips are not only used for smartphones, tablets, and laptops, but are necessary for vehicles' Bluetooth connections, built-in infotainment systems, and several driver-assist features. The cause of the shortage can be pinned on the coronavirus pandemic and its rebound.
Automakers were forced to shut down manufacturing to help contain the outbreak and, therefore, reduced orders for parts, including these chips. But at the same time, global demand surged for home electronics because everyone was stuck at home. Manufacturers switched from making car chips to those for electronic devices. Now that car sales have increased again, automakers want what their suppliers can't immediately deliver.