Stellantis will temporarily close five North American assembly plants starting this week through early- or mid-April due to the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage. Semiconductors are the backbone of today’s automotive industry, controlling electronic features like driver-assist technologies, hybrid-electric systems, and even infotainment connectivity. With that being said, the semiconductor shortage has now affected production for several Stellantis North America vehicles.
News from Stellantis North America came late Friday afternoon, as the automaker will shut down production at plants in Michigan, Illinois, Mexico, and Ontario, Canada. The temporary shutdown will affect products such as trucks, minivans, SUVs, and even passenger cars. The shutdown will also affect more than 18,300 workers at those plants, not including the company’s vast supplier chain.
The five North American plants include…
- Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois – Jeep® Cherokee (KL)
- Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario – Chrysler 300 Series (LX), Dodge Challenger (LA), and Dodge Charger (LD)
- Toluca Assembly Plant in Toluca, Mexico – Jeep Compass (MP)
- Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan – Ram 1500 Classic (DS)
- Windsor Assembly Plant – Windsor, Ontario – Chrysler Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, and Chrysler Voyager (RU)
The idling of the five plants makes sense, in order for the company to continue to build some of its hotter selling products such as the Ram 1500 (DT), Jeep Wrangler (JL), Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2), and Dodge Durango (WD) vehicles.
Currently, the Jeep Cherokee is the only product that the Belvidere plant manufacturers. It has been on a decline in sales over the past couple of years due to decreased global demand for the mid-sized SUV. The plant has already been idled because of the chip shortage recently.
The Toluca plant is currently ramping up for the mid-cycle-action (MCA) for the 2022 Jeep Compass. That vehicle is expected to start production in early April and will more than likely be one of the hotter selling vehicles in the Jeep portfolio after it makes its debut. The move to idle this plant makes sense at the current moment to allow for the switch over to the 2022 vehicle.
While the Warren Truck plant continues to build the aging Ram 1500 Classic, the older Ram half-ton continues to be a hot seller for the company. The Warren Truck team is currently gearing up for the launch of the high-anticipated Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS) full-size SUVs in June. There was talk early last week from Stellantis about it holding unfinished Ram 1500 Classic models at its Warren Truck and Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico until parts came available. While the Warren Truck plant was added to the idle list, the Saltillo Truck plant which builds the Ram 1500 Classic export trucks, regular cab models, Heavy Duty (DJ & D2), and Chassis Cab (DP, DD, and DX) trucks will continue production.
With the continuing production woes due to semiconductors, it makes us wonder if it is only time before the Big-3 automakers join forces for a joint venture to produce their own chips or a third-party will produce the chips in North America, away from the Chinese? Only time will tell.