Friday, 05 February 2021 19:21

GM to Idle 3 Plants in North America Due to Semiconductor Shortage

Written by Jamie L. LaReau, Detroit Free Press
GM employees work on the assembly line April 26, 2019, at Fairfax Assembly & Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS. GM employees work on the assembly line April 26, 2019, at Fairfax Assembly & Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS. Jim Barcus for GM


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General Motors is idling three of its assembly plants in North America and running a fourth in South Korea at half capacity for one week as it struggles with the ongoing semiconductor shortage that has already impacted production at Ford Motor Co., Stellantis and others globally.

On Feb. 8, GM will idle the following plants---which run two shifts---for a week:


  • Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS: About 2,000 hourly workers build the Chevrolet Malibu sedan and Cadillac XT4 SUV
  • CAMI, Ingersoll, Ontario Canada: About 1,500 hourly workers build the Chevrolet Equinox SUV
  • San Luis Potosí, Mexico: GM builds Chevrolet Equinox and Trax and GMC Terrain SUVs


Some related GM plants that supply engines and other parts to the plants to be idled may be minorly impacted. For example, the engine plant at GM's Spring Hill Assembly complex will reduce a shift on one engine line next week because GM sends that engine to Fairfax.


In addition, GM will run its Bupyeong 2 assembly plant in South Korea at half capacity beginning the week of Feb. 8. GM builds the Chevy Malibu, Trax and Buick Encore SUV there for sale in the U.S.


On Jan. 22, Business Korea reported GM planned to cut vehicle production by suspending overtime and extra work at its Bupyeong plant because of the semiconductor shortage. It uses the chips in its electronic control units and infotainment systems.


"No production disruptions," GM spokesman David Barnas told the Free Press the last week of January. "There were rumors last week from suppliers that our Korea operations were being disrupted. But GM Korea corrected those stories."


Barnas said GM will not idle Bupyeong, but will merely run it at half capacity for a week, starting Feb. 8.


Workers get paid


The UAW reacted to GM's news by saying its leaders continue to work with major employers, the Biden administration, Congress and suppliers to address the semiconductor shortage.


"Over the past 30 years, production of semiconductors has been offshored to South Korea, Taiwan and more recently, China," said UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg in a statement. "Today, the United States only controls manufacturing for about 14% of all semiconductors."


The union negotiated worker protection in the event of parts shortages interrupting production in its contract, he said. Union workers will receive...

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