Wentzville, MO – Two weeks after a 14-day shutdown due to a worldwide semiconductor chip shortage, the General Motors assembly plant here is reducing shifts for the same reason.
According to a memo on the UAW Local 2250 website, the second shift hourly production team in general assembly as well as all three shifts in van body were placed on a temporary layoff on April 26. Company officials have not said how long the layoff will be.
Local 2250 represents 3,500 autoworkers at the plant who make GM’s Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon mid-size pickups and the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.
GM recently moved up the Wentzville plant’s launch/construction downtime by about two weeks to give the company more time to build products to meet customer demand in the remainder of the year.
The shutdown is scheduled for May 24 with an anticipated return date of July 19, according to the Local 2250 memo. At this time, all three production shifts are expected to resume.
SHORTAGE IMPACTING OTHER AUTOMAKERS
The global chip shortage has upset production for a number of automakers.
Ford Motor Co. shut down or canceled shifts at a half-dozen North American plants in January and February.
Stellantis, formerly Fiat-Chrysler, shuttered plants in Mexico and Canada through the end of January, but most of its North American facilities ran normally in February.
CAUSED BY PANDEMIC
Demand for semiconductor chips is up in part because of the coronavirus pandemic and increased demand for laptop computers and other personal electronics. Cars use the chips in a variety of applications, including to monitor engine performance, manage steering and automatic windows, plus sensors used in parking and entertainment systems. Analysts say a single car part can contain as many as 500 to 1,500 chips.
The chip shortage was caused by a combination of factors. North American auto plants were shut for two months last year during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and chip orders were canceled. At the same time, demand surged from the consumer electronics industry as more people worked from home and played video games.