Ford has joined General Motors in extending North American assembly plant outages into the third quarter because of a persistent shortage of microchips.
“Our teams continue making the most of our available semiconductor allocation and will continue finding unique solutions to provide as many high-quality vehicles as possible to our dealers and customers,” a Ford spokeswoman told Steel Market Update.
Below is where things stand at the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker as of Thursday, May 20:
• Chicago Assembly Plant will be down the week of May 31 and will operate on a reduced schedule the week of June 7
• Flat Rock (Mich.) Assembly Plant will be down the weeks of May 31 and June 7
• Dearborn Truck Plant and Kansas City (Mo.) Assembly Plant – truck line – will be down the weeks of May 31 and June 7 and will operate on a reduced schedule the week of June 14
• Hermosillo (Mexico) Assembly Plant will be down the weeks of June 21 and 28
• Louisville (Ky.) Assembly Plant will be down the weeks of May 31 – week of June 28
• Oakville (Ontario) Assembly Complex will be down the weeks of May 31 – week of June 21
• Ohio Assembly Plant will produce only Super Duty Chassis cabs and Medium Duty trucks the weeks of May 31, June 7 and 14.
Detroit-based General Motors last week announced chip-related downtime through at least early July at some of its North American assembly plants.
A GM spokesman said on Thursday that there have been no changes to the status of its assembly plants since then.
Stellantis (formerly known as Chrysler) has also extended downtime at several of its plants, but the automaker’s outages have not yet stretched into the third quarter.
Stellantis outages are as follows:
• Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant will be down through Memorial Day. The plant will run a partial shift the week of May 31
• Windsor (Ontario) Assembly Plant will be down the week of May 24. The plant will run a partial shift the week of May 31
• Toluca (Mexico) Assembly Plant will be down the weeks of May 24 and May 31.
“Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry,” a company spokeswoman said.
Electronic parts are mounted on small pieces, or microchips, of semiconductor, a material typically made from silicon. Semiconductors have been in short supply since at least late last year.
Shortages of chips and other materials have forced automakers to ratchet back production despite strong customer demand for new vehicles. That would normally hurt steel demand and prices. And yet sheet prices have marched steadily higher for 40 consecutive weeks.
Steel Market Update’s base price for galvanized product – which is widely used in automotive applications – stands at $1,730 per ton ($86.50/cwt), up nearly 60% from $1,085 per ton at the beginning of the year and nearly triple a 2020 low – recorded in late July of last year – of $630 per ton.
Lead times for galvanized product, meanwhile, are 11-16 weeks – or well into September at some mills.
By Michael Cowden, Michael@SteelMarketUpdate.com
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