The microchip shortage has had a profound effect across the auto industry, impacting production and feature availability for every major automaker. That includes General Motors, which is now grappling with a backlog of Chevy Silverado HD pickup trucks ready to ship from the GM Oshawa plant in Canada.
According to a recent report from Automotive News, which cites a statement made by union Chairperson for Unifor Local 222 Jason Gale, there are in fact 11,000 Chevy Silverado HD trucks parked at the Oshawa plant waiting on shipment. Rail transport simply can’t move the backlog of vehicles fast enough.
The backlog of Chevy Silverado vehicles is the result of GM’s so-called “build-shy” strategy, which enabled The General to keep production lines moving despite a dearth of available microchips. The strategy essentially entailed building vehicles without chip-intensive features or components, then fitting those missing features or components once additional microchips were sourced.
As chip supplies improve, the backlog of vehicles are completed and ready to ship. The hang-up now, however, is that there’s simply not enough rail freight available to move them all. Part of the issue is that the Chevy Silverado HD is dimensionally larger than the light-duty Chevy Silverado 1500, which means each HD unit takes up more space on the train cars. Although there are some light-duty pickups in the backlog, most are the heavy-duty Chevy Silverado HD. According to Gale, the backlog is reducing, albeit slowly.
General Motors began production of the Chevy Silverado HD at the GM Oshawa plant late last year, previously investing some $1.3 billion into the facility. At the moment, the Oshawa plant is operating in a two-shift rotation, while a third shift is expected to kick off in August, increasing the number of hourly workers from 1,800 to 2,600.
Notably, GM’s crosstown rival, Ford, has also amassed a stockpile of vehicles, with reports of some 53,000 Ford vehicles waiting for microchips.