Sound familiar? Ford is doing the same.
Trucks and SUVs were already essential to the bottom line of automakers like General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis. Toss in the semiconductor chip shortage crisis that was brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and those vehicle segments have become more important than ever. Over the past few months, GM and others have idled assembly lines of less popular models, like the Chevy Malibu, in favor of trucks like the Silverado 1500 and Silverado HD. This doesn't solve everything because those chips remain in short supply. But the show must go on and those in-demand vehicles need to be built.
The Detroit Free Press reports this is indeed happening on GM's part, but the situation is not ideal.
Every day, GM is parking approximately 1,000 newly built trucks and SUVs at Texas' Arlington Assembly in massive lots located between Forth Worth and Dallas. As of last Wednesday, over 10,000 Tahoes, Yukons, and Escalades are sitting there nearly completed. All, however, still lack those crucial chips that are preventing them from being sent to dealerships across the country. Ford, if you recall, was doing exactly this with the F-150 in lots located outside of Detroit.
Progress has been made in getting those trucks to dealers despite last week's 33-car train derailment outside of Kansas City that resulted in an unknown number of totaled vehicles.
Like Ford, GM's current situation is far from ideal but it is what it is. GM management believes production will improve later this year and early next year as chip supplies increase. Arlington is not the only place where GM is parking thousands of completed trucks, sans chips. The Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri, home of the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, also has over 9,000 examples of those midsize trucks awaiting completion.
GM's overall strategy is to build as much as it can with what parts are available. Still, this is considered to be a "build-shy" strategy because it's focusing mostly on its most profitable vehicles. One thing remains clear, however: the current situation cannot last forever.