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GM forced to cut production of midsize pickups due to chip shortage


A General Motors employee works Dec. 13, 2019 at the automaker’s plant in Wentzville, Missouri.

Photo by Melissa Vaeth for General Motors

General Motors will suspend production of its midsize pickup trucks due to a global semiconductor chip shortage. It’s the latest shutdown as the automaker prioritizes production of its larger, more profitable full-size pickups and SUVs.

Downtime at the Missouri plant will start Monday and run through April 12, according to a message sent to employees on Wednesday by the United Auto Workers union local. The plant produces GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado pickups. Van production at the facility will not be impacted, GM said.

GM will also pull ahead scheduled downtime for the plant by two weeks to May 24 through July 19 to “allow for more time to build product” during the second half of 2021, the union said. GM spokesman David Barnas confirmed the plans.

In addition to the pickups, Barnas said GM will extend downtime at a car plant in Michigan by two weeks to mid-April. GM has temporarily shuttered or cut production at several plants that produce cars or crossovers to prioritize production of its full-size pickups and SUVs.

“GM continues to leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers,” Barnas said in an emailed statement. “We have not taken downtime or reduced shifts at any of our full-size truck plants due to the shortage.”

GM plants in Kansas and Ingersoll, Ontario, that shuttered in early February over the chip shortage are expected to remain closed until at least mid-April. Plants in Brazil and South Korea have also been affected. A plant in Mexico is expected to reopen April 5 after being shut down since Feb. 8.

GM’s actions come as the auto industry attempts to deal with the global chip shortage. Suppliers directed semiconductors away from the automotive industry as multiple plants shut down last year due to Covid. Consulting firm AlixPartners estimates the chip shortage will cut $60.6 billion in revenue from the global automotive industry this year.

Semiconductors are key components used in the infotainment, power steering and braking of new vehicles, among other systems. GM expects the chip shortage to cut $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion from its free cash flow in 2021.

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