As the ongoing global semiconductor shortage continues to drag down the auto industry, General Motors has adopted a “build-shy” strategy that keeps the production line moving, while parking unfinished units as they await the chips needed for completion.
According to a recent report from Detroit Free Press, General Motors is currently stockpiling tens of thousands of unfinished vehicles as the critical semiconductor chips trickle in, including pickups, SUVs, and vans. The vehicles are currently being stored at the automaker’s facilities in Mexico, Texas, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois.
“We’ve been doing [build-shy] for a few months,” UAW Local 2209 Shop Chairman Rick LeTourneau at Fort Wayne Assembly told Detroit Free Press. “We have about 15,000 trucks parked now.”
General Motors has so far declined to provide exact figures on how many vehicles are currently parked and waiting for chips.
“The number changes because, as chips become available, we’re working that [to install the missing parts],” said GM CEO Mary Barra during a first-quarter earnings media call this week. “What I will tell you is that we do have some vehicles that are in that status. When we have the semiconductor and can insert the module, we’ll do that and then the vehicle will go through a very thorough and rigorous quality testing.”
The “build-shy” strategy is intended to to keep production online and expedite General Motors’ high-profit models, including its full-size SUVs and trucks, while making the best of a bad situation as chip supplies run tight.
The semi-conductor chip shortage has affected the entirety of the auto industry, with automakers scrambling to keep production rolling in order to meet rising customer demand. However, according to the latest estimates, the chip shortage has cut General Motors’ North American production figures by roughly 80,000 units thus far, with several facilities incurring downtime as GM prioritizes its high-profit models.