FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After months of business as usual for GM Fort Wayne Assembly, the ongoing national semiconductor chip shortage finally hit home for the plant.
Some GM car plants were closed earlier in the year to adjust to the chip shortage, but GM Fort Wayne Assembly had been spared. This is because it produces the most in-demand GM product – trucks. The demand is still there, but the ability to supply, without the chips, is not.
Rich LeTourneau, Union Bargaining Chairman for Local 2209, explained that the trucks are built but they cannot be sold just yet, “We’ve probably got 12 to 13,000 trucks, waiting on those semiconductors. The trucks are built, they’re done, they’re ready to roll, but we can’t ship them until we get the semiconductor installed. It’s that simple.”
So what makes these chips so special? Semiconductor chips are a grouping of electrical circuits on a piece of a semiconductor material such as silicon. They’re in just about everything people use on a daily basis – smartphones, computers, and even household appliances like toasters. And yes, in all modern made vehicles. In cars and trucks, chips are in things ranging from safety features such as brakes to entertainment systems and GPS. Due to the high importance of these chips, the trucks at GM Fort Wayne cannot be sold without them.
As for the impact on the workers, three different line worker shifts have been temporarily cut down this weekend. While this is not a serious effect, LeTourneau expressed his concern about the future, “this thing could get really dangerously scary for all of us if they [semiconductor makers] can’t meet the demand.”
While there is a looming feeling of uncertainty on how long the national chip shortage will continue to impact GM Fort Wayne, LeTourneau reassured that “General Motors, the auto industry in itself is a cyclical business. We go through a lot of ups and downs, but we get through it. We always do.”