After five months of continuous operation since the reopening of the assembly lines at the facility, General Motors will once again stop production at the Gravataí plant in Brazil at the end of next week. Once again, the automaker is being forced to move collective vacations ahead and close its most important and productive plant in Brazil for a month due to a lack of components.
Brazilian publication Automotive Business reported that GM’s local subsidiary will send some 2,000 employees from the two production shifts of the Gravataí plant, which exclusively manufactures the second-generation Chevy Onix to supply the domestic market and the rest of South America, on collective vacation. All facility employees will be on vacation from February 21st to March 20th.
Although GM Brazil said in an official note that vacations to Gravataí plant employees were granted due to updates that will be made in the production line of the complex, the Gravataí Metallurgical Workers Union (SINMGRA, for its acronym in Portuguese) reported that as of Monday, February 7th, the plant is once again facing serious production difficulties due to a shortage of electronic components.
In fact, for that reason, the automaker had to abruptly stop production at the Gravataí plant until at least Wednesday, February 9th, granting the exceptional benefit of a “day off” to the entire workforce. As such, the union confirms that this situation put an end to the relative normality that the factory experienced since the activation of the second shift at the beginning of October.
Inevitably, this new production shutdown at the Gravataí plant is reminiscent of the grim event that occurred on almost the same date last year, when GM stopped production at the factory due to a lack of parts. Although the initial plan was for production to be suspended during the collective holiday month while semiconductor inventories were replenished, the plant ended up closed for five and a half months.
This caused severe production losses and seriously affected GM Brazil’s sales performance, causing the Chevrolet brand to lose market leadership and the Chevy Onix to lose first place in sales for a good part of the 2021 calendar year. With this precedent, the new closure of the Gravataí plant represents a critical and highly sensitive moment for GM South America’s business.