KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City area’s General Motors and Ford assembly plants will be closed for weeks as manufacturers deal with a global shortage of semiconductors.
In a statement, GM said Monday that it’s managed to “leverage every available semiconductor” to make its most popular and profitable full-size trucks and SUVs. But the chip shortage continues to snag up the auto industry, which by some estimates stands to lose $60 billion in sales during the first half of his year.
GM confirmed that its Fairfax plant in Kansas, which has already been shut down since Feb. 8, will now remain closed through at least the week of July 5. The Fairfax plant builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac XT4.
In late April, Ford also shut down all production at its Kansas City assembly plant in Claycomo.
Initially, the manufacturer just closed the transit van side of the Kansas City factory, but a few weeks later, the F-150 side was also closed, now affecting nearly all of the 7,100 hourly employees.
Currently, Kansas City’s Ford factory is scheduled to return to production on May 17, but United Auto Workers Local 249, which represents local Ford plant workers, said the situation is constantly changing.
Along with Kansas City, GM and Ford have closed several other plants across North America. In fact, nearly all automakers are struggling with the chip shortage, including Volkswagen, Jaguar Land Rover, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan and Honda.
The chip shortage has been caused by semiconductor makers switching their factories to more profitable consumer-electronics processors when auto plants closed due to the coronavirus last year. The auto factories came back faster than expected, but the chip makers didn’t quickly switch their factories back to automotive-grade chips.
These snags are likely to frustrate consumers who can’t find the vehicle they want and sometimes find themselves settling for a lower-end models without as many fancy electronic features.