1500 Classic buyers take note.
Detroit's worst fears have come to pass. The global semiconductor chip shortage has struck production of Motor City's highly profitable trucks and SUVs that Americans love. The Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500 are currently being manufactured without these crucial chips that can be used in everything from power steering, fuel management, and brake sensors, to parking cameras and infotainment systems.
Automakers have done their best to conserve what chip supplies they have left for trucks instead of less profitable models, such as the Chevy Camaro, whose production has also been temporarily suspended. And now Stellantis, the world's newly minted fourth-largest automaker, has confirmed to Reuters the Ram 1500 Classic is the latest semiconductor chip victim.
The 1500 Classic, the bargain-priced full-size truck that's really the previous-generation Ram 1500, will be built and held for final assembly at two manufacturing plants: Warren, Michigan and Saltillo, Mexico, until the must-have chips become available. At that time, the trucks will undergo final assembly and shipped to dealers across the country.
A Stellantis spokesperson said this plan will be in effect for "a number of weeks" and refused to say how many trucks will be affected. Those in the market for a new 1500 Classic need to understand there's now a decent possibility dealership supplies could begin to dwindle in the coming weeks.
But the ultimate question is when the semiconductor chip shortage problem will be resolved once and for all. It's hard to estimate right now, but Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares predicts the earliest it could happen is sometime in the next half of this year. So far, only one major automaker has managed to successfully weather the chip storm (or lack thereof).
Toyota currently has a sufficient chip supply on hand and production remains mostly unaffected. The Japanese automaker learned harsh lessons following the massive earthquake that struck Japan in 2011 when its supply lines nearly collapsed. Since then, it stockpiles crucial parts, such as semiconductor chips.