A GM spokesperson confirmed to AutomotiveNews Canada today that the assembly plant will be closed until at least the end of June while GM addresses the chip shortage.
“CAMI employees were notified this morning they will remain down through at least the week of June 28,” GM Canada spokeswoman Jennifer Wright told the publication over email. “We continue to work closely with our supply base to mitigate the short-term impact and leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers.”
GM has maintained a strategy of saving its limited inventory of semi-conductor chips for its popular and profitable vehicles in recent months, which include the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups and full-size SUVs like the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon. While the Equinox is among GM’s most popular models, it is also produced at the Ramos Arizpe plant in Mexico in addition to CAMI, so it will maintain some level of production while the Canadian plant remains idle.
The global semiconductor chip shortage is expected to worsen in the coming months as demand continues to outpace production. In its Q1 earnings report, Ford cut its second-quarter production outlook by half and said the chip shortage could last until early 2022. Ford has also been forced to shut down a number of production plants in recent months due to the chip shortage and, like GM, has made efforts to safeguard the production of its full-size pickup trucks.
Goldman Sachs analysts said last week that the complexity of manufacturing semi-conductor chips and the time it takes to set up a new chip manufacturing facility means there no quick fix for the shortage.
“Because of the proprietary technologies, specialized machinery, and economics of scale needed to produce any given type of computer chip or component — and because many of the mature facilities are already operating near full capacity — the imbalance is likely to persist into the fall and possibly into 2022,” the investment bank said in a research note.
President Biden met with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Farley and the CEOs of several major tech firms earlier this month to discuss the chip shortage and what a potential homegrown solution might look like. At the time, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the meeting wasn’t held to come up with a solution right away, but was rather a “part of our ongoing engagement and discussion about how to best address this issue.”