AUTOMOBILE

GM plants hit by chip shortages to reopen by Nov. 1

DETROIT — General Motors on Friday said it expects to reopen the remaining three North American assembly plants that have been idled because of the global microchip shortage by Nov. 1.

GM also said it plans to resume building Chevrolet Malibu sedans for the first time in nearly nine months at a plant that has partially reopened in Kansas.

The automaker said its plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, which has been shut since mid-August, would start building Chevy Blazers on Oct. 18, followed by Chevy Equinoxes as soon as Nov. 1.

Two more Equinox plants — San Luis Potosi Assembly in Mexico and CAMI Assembly in Ontario — that have been down since mid-July will reopen Nov. 1, GM said. San Luis Potosi also builds the GMC Terrain.

“Although the situation remains complex and very fluid,” GM said in a statement, “we remain confident in our team’s ability to continue finding creative solutions to minimize the impact of the semiconductor shortages that have been impacting the industry.”

The rest of GM’s North American assembly plants that were down because of the chip shortage resumed operation this month. Several plants remain down for retooling, and Chevy Bolt production has been halted because of a battery recall.

Restarting Malibu production would be a sign that GM believes it can obtain sufficient chip supplies in the foreseeable future. Fairfax Assembly in Kansas resumed production of the Cadillac XT4 last month but hasn’t built a Malibu since early February.

GM redirected chips intended for the slow-selling sedan to plants making more profitable vehicles, such as its SUV plant in Texas, which has remained online continuously throughout the supply crisis.

However, the company has postponed previous Malibu production restarts several times during the shutdown and could do so again if it determines the chips are still better used elsewhere.

As a result of the production shutdown, GM sold just 269 Malibus in the U.S. in the third quarter, 99 percent less than in the same period a year earlier.

Editor’s note: GM’s San Luis Potosi plant builds the GMC Terrain. An earlier version of this story misstated which GM plant builds the Terrain.


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