General Motors has not been having a great time recently. The chip shortage has tanked the company’s output, drastically reducing sales, but those numbers are based on finished cars. The General has consistently been pumping out nearly-finished trucks from plants like those in Flint, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana. But those unfinished, unsold trucks need somewhere to sit until chip inventories recover — and for Indiana trucks, that means a big taste of irony.
Rather than filling up lots at the Fort Wayne plant, GM has been hauling unfinished trucks to its recently-closed Kokomo, IN plant. While the facility was most recently used to manufacture ventilators for hospitals to use in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, it lived a previous life as a clean room environment for manufacturing computer chips.
The Kokomo plant ceased production of semiconductors in 2017, after GM called the prospect of updating the facility “cost prohibitive.” The local United Auto Workers union had pushed GM to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to Kokomo, but no plan to do so ever materialised.
WISH TV, a local Indiana news network, spoke to residents who said that every day sees “truckloads” of vehicles brought to Kokomo to sit. Of those, only “a handful” return to the Fort Wayne plant to be finished. The entire Kokomo facility has been fenced off, providing storage for thousands of unfinished Silverado and Sierra 1500s.
Kokomo isn’t the only place GM pickups are piling up. With a similar situation playing out in Michigan, the company is building up a serious backlog of trucks yet to be completed. And with the chip shortage not predicted to end for at least a year, these lots will likely sit for quite some time.