In late January, retired General Motors employee Joseph Jones bought a 2021 GMC Sierra full-size pickup after having driven his 2004 Sierra for 17 years.
Jones, 68, tracked the production of the new light-duty pickup in cherry red from his home in Franklin, Tennessee. He saw that it was built on Feb. 15 at GM’s Silao Assembly Plant in Mexico, so he eagerly awaited its arrival any day.
But as of May 5, Jones’ pickup remained in Mexico, parked alongside thousands of other GM pickups built shy of the final parts needed to complete them because of a global semiconductor chip shortage.
“I am getting more aggravated by the day,” Jones said. “The customers are stuck in the middle and I would love better communication through General Motors. I know everybody has been in the same situation, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Nissan … everybody has been held hostage by the shortage of this chip.”
GM is running what the industry has called a build-shy strategy, where it builds as much of its vehicles as it can, less the parts that require the chips. It is storing tens of thousands of incompletely built pickups, SUVs and vans in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Mexico, several people familiar with GM’s production told the USA TODAY Network’s Detroit Free Press.
“We’ve been doing (build-shy) for a few months,” said UAW Local 2209 Shop Chairman Rich LeTourneau at Fort Wayne Assembly plant in Indiana, where besides in Mexico, GM also builds full-size light-duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. “We have about 15,000 trucks parked now.”
GM declined to confirm figures but said its build-shy strategy benefits customers, dealers and employees because it keeps the assembly lines humming, building its most in-demand and profitable vehicles.