Steel Markets

GM to Restart Full-Size Output, Extend Other Outages into October

Written by Michael Cowden

General Motors will resume production at some assembly plants next week, but is extending downtime at others into October because of the continued global chip shortage.

“All of GM’s full-size truck and full-size SUV plants in North America will be running full production next week,” a company spokesman told SMU on Thursday, Sept. 9.

GMThe move comes after the Detroit-based automaker said it would halt production at nearly all of its North American assembly plants because of the semiconductor shortage.

“The most recent scheduling adjustments are being driven by the continued parts shortages caused by semiconductor supply constraints from international markets experiencing COVID-related restrictions,” the spokesman said.

GM is not alone in its struggles with pandemic-related parts shortages. Its crosstown rival, Ford, for example, has had to shut plants because of chip shortages stemming from a COVID outbreak in Malaysia.

Vehicles contain approximately one ton of steel. And so the impact of parts-related shortages can have a significant impact on steel demand.

Here is where things stand now:

• GM’s truck assembly plants in Ft. Wayne, Ind., and Silao, Mexico, will resume production on Monday, Sept. 13. Both plants were idle this week.

The plants build the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Cheyenne pickup trucks.

• The automaker’s assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., will resume production on Monday, Sept. 20. The plant has been idle since July 19. It will then take previously scheduled downtime from Sept. 27 through the week of Nov. 27 to retool for new models. Spring Hill builds the GMC Acadia as well as the Cadillac XT5 and XT6 SUVs.

• GM’s Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan., will resume production of the Cadillac XT4 compact SUV beginning the week of Sept. 20. Production of the Chevrolet Malibu passenger car will remain down. XT4 production at Fairfax had been down since Feb. 8.

• The automaker’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan will take an additional week of downtime the week of Sept. 20 and is expected to resume production the week of Sept. 27. That plant has been down since July 19. Lansing Delta Township builds the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave SUVs.

• GM’s Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant will also take an additional week of downtime on Sept. 20 before resuming production the week of Sept. 27. It has been down since Sept. 6. Wentzville builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups and the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.

• The automaker’s Ramos assembly plant in Mexico will likewise see additional downtime. Production of the Chevrolet Blazer SUV will be down through the week of Sept. 20. And production of the Chevrolet Equinox at Ramos will be down through the week of Sept. 27. Blazer output at Ramos has been down since Aug. 23, and Equinox production has been down since Aug. 16.

• GM’s Lansing Grand River assembly plant in Michigan will take downtime for the Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac Blackwing sports cars the weeks of Sept. 13 and 20. The facility will also extend downtime for the Cadillac CT4 and CT5 through the week of Sept. 27. Output of the luxury sedans at Lansing Grand River has been down since May 10.

• On the electric vehicle (EV) front, GM plans to take two additional weeks of downtime at its Orion assembly plant in Michigan because of a battery pack shortage, the spokesman said. Orion makes the Bolt EV, production of which will be down the weeks of Sept. 13 and Sept. 20. GM will use the time “to work with our suppliers to update manufacturing processes,” he said. That outage follows a safety recall.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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