Earlier this month, GM Authority reported that General Motors halted production of the Chevrolet Onix at the Gravataí plant in Brazil due to a parts shortage. Although the factory shutdown was scheduled to end in April, the automaker has just confirmed that adverse circumstances are forcing it to postpone production of South America’s best-selling vehicle until June.
Production of the Chevrolet Onix and the Onix Plus sedan was paralyzed on March 1st in Brazil due to the lack of electronic components, especially semiconductors, which threatens the stability of the automotive industry worldwide. The closure coincided with the collective vacations at the GM Gravataí plant and implied the temporary furlough of 1,000 employees at the complex until April 5th.
GM estimated that within that timeframe, it would have been able to replenish its inventory of required components to a reasonable level and resume production of the successful Chevrolet Onix by next month. However, the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic intensified in the southern region of Brazil and the supply of components has not normalized, forcing the company to once again readjust its production schedule in Gravataí.
The new schedule includes the temporary production resumption on Monday, March 22nd, when the workers of the Gravataí plant returned from the collective vacations granted at the beginning of the month. The company’s plan is to produce a new batch of Onix units in full shifts until the end of March, supplying dealer inventories in April and June while the new shutdown period lasts.
“The automotive industry supply chain in South America has been impacted by production stops during the pandemic and by the faster-than-expected market recovery. This is temporarily affecting our production schedule at the Gravataí plant,” said GM Brazil in a note. “Production at this unit will be interrupted in April and May, and possibly June, returning to regular production volume in July,” the statement specified.
During the next ten days of activities at the Gravataí plant, GM will focus on producing as many units as possible of the Chevrolet Onix in more profitable range-topping versions, which can help better cope with the inevitable loss of vehicle volume in the second quarter. The manufacturer expects to return to normal production volumes at its most important plant in Brazil in July.