A temporary solution has been found.
The semiconductor chip shortage continues to haunt the world's automakers and some tough decisions must be made. General Motors has already halted production of the Chevy Camaro and other models in order to help conserve what few chips it has left for more popular trucks and SUVs, specifically the Silverado 1500.
But now that reserved chip supply has nearly dried up. GM has confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that, starting this week, it will build certain 2021 light-duty full-size trucks without a fuel management module. This will be in effect until the model year changeover happening in late summer.
"Due to the global shortage of semiconductors impacting the global auto industry, we are making Active Fuel Management/Dynamic Fuel Management unavailable on certain 2021 model year full-size trucks," said GM spokesperson Michelle Malcho.
"By taking this measure, we are better able to meet the strong customer and dealer demand for our full-size trucks as the industry continues to rebound and strengthen."
Trucks lacking a fuel management module are still fully drivable, capable, and safe, but maximum fuel economy will not be achieved. For example, Silverados and GMC Sierra 1500s powered by the standard 5.3-liter EcoTec V8 paired to either the six- or eight-speed automatic transmissions will see a fuel economy drop by 1 mpg. The upside to this plan is that trucks will continue to be built at both GM's Fort Wayne Assembly in Indiana and Silao Assembly in Mexico. Keeping them rolling off the line is what's crucial.
Malcho did not state how many trucks will lack modules but noted it will not have a major impact on the company's corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) numbers. Nothing has been confirmed yet regarding price adjustments; why should customers pay for something they're not getting? Trucks and SUVs are GM's most profitable vehicles and guaranteeing a regular supply is a must.
Fortunately, the chip shortage has not affected (at least not yet) GM's heavy-duty Silverado and Sierra trucks, both built at Michigan's Flint Assembly. Both the 2022 Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500s are supposedly due for a major mid-life refresh and parent company GM will need to secure a constant chip supply by the time both go on sale, presumably next fall.