That means 15,000 vehicles won't be built this month.
Another automaker has succumbed to the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage crisis. A Subaru of American spokesperson has confirmed to Reuters it is suspending production at its Lafayette, Indiana factory starting now until the end of the month. No precise date was given for when the factory will come back online.
But unlike other automakers who have multiple facilities scattered throughout the country and the world, such as General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, Subaru only has two factories, in Japan and Indiana. The former, for now, is still up and running. The Indiana plant's shutdown means around 15,000 vehicles won't be produced. The Subaru Outback, Legacy, Ascent, and Impreza are all built there. The Forester, Crosstrek, and BRZ are made in Japan.
It's unclear how long this will affect sales in the US and North America. Dealerships will have to make do with existing stock for at least the next few weeks, perhaps longer. Despite its small size compared to other Japanese giants like Toyota and Honda, Subaru has developed an immensely loyal following in the US.
It's not unusual for dealerships to sell vehicles the moment they're delivered because demand is so high. This was the case for the Ascent and Forester when both were brand new. The company spokesperson added the lack of chips was due to the global shortage rather than a recent fire at a chip factory.
Subaru now joins other big-name carmakers pressuring the US government to help find a solution, but it's not simple. Setting up a new chip production facility from scratch would take years, so one alternative being considered is to have Intel start producing chips specifically for automakers rather than electronic device companies.
Even if a deal is made the shortage won't end overnight. Some analysts believe it'll extend through the rest of the year. Meanwhile, automakers are losing money, assembly line workers are seeing their hours cut only months after being furloughed because of the pandemic, and dealers will lack vehicles to sell.