Chip shortage forces GM to extend production cuts

The global chip shortage is denting GM’s production plans yet again. General Motors extended production cuts at two plants in North America Wednesday.

The largest American automaker is idling an assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri during the weeks between March 29 and April 5 and extending down time in Lansing, Michigan by two weeks.

The affected vehicles include mid-sized pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and cars, the Cadillac CT5 and Chevy Camaro.

GM wouldn’t say how much volume it would lose, but it said it hopes to make up as much lost production as possible later in the year. A spokesman said the latest moves were already factored into its prior forecast that it could shave up to $2 billion off this year’s profit.

GM and other car makers are scrambling for chips as it competes for supply with consumer electronics companies. Chip orders were cancelled when the health crisis last year forced auto plants to shut down for two months. But semiconductor demand surged because people working from home and playing video games bought electronic devices like computers and gaming consoles that use a lot of chips. A recent fire at a major Japanese chipmaker’s plant only exacerbated the shortage.

Semiconductors are used extensively in cars, including to monitor engine performance, manage steering or automatic windows, and in sensors used in parking and entertainment systems.