Windsor

Windsor Assembly Plant temporarily shutting down due to semiconductor shortage

Production will be temporarily shut down at the Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant due to a global shortage of semiconductors.

Production will be on hiatus for three weeks, according to Stellantis

An employee working on the assembly line with added safety precautions at FCA's Windsor Assembly Plant. (Submitted by FCA)

Production will be temporarily shut down at the Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant due to a global shortage of semiconductors.

The hiatus, which starts on Monday, will last three weeks, Stellantis confirmed. 

"We are working closely with our global supply chain network to manage the manufacturing impact caused by the global microchip shortage and will continue to make production adjustments as necessary," LouAnn Gosselin, head of communications for Stellantis in Canada, said in an emailed statement.

Unifor Local 444, which represents employees at the plant, said in a tweet Thursday evening that workers should take direction from their supervisors.

When the plant is not in operation, workers are temporarily laid off. There are about 4,700 people employed at the facility.

Stellantis is among several automakers halting or slowing down production due to a shortage of semiconductors, which are used in electronics.

Industry officials say semiconductor companies diverted production to consumer electronics during the worst of the COVID-19 slowdown in auto sales last spring.

Global automakers were forced to close plants to prevent the spread of the virus. But when automakers recovered, there weren't enough of the chips available to meet demand.

Far-reaching effects

Employees at the Ford Motor Company Essex plant will also have two shifts idled on Monday due to the shortage. 

Tim Little, the vice-president of Unifor Local 200, says that while the impact hasn't been quite as severe, he is still concerned.

"We were surprised, it's concerning ... We're not sure where it's headed," he said.

"To know that Ford Motor Company is taking shifts out of the best-selling vehicle in North America and their most profitable line, is concerning, yeah."

Greg Layson, digital and mobile editor at Automotive News Canada, says the shortage shows how much a lack of supply of a component manufactured on the other side of the world can affect production in North America.

He likens it to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in North America a year ago.

"So now we're in that same situation ... We're relying on someone overseas to make a part that is necessary for every vehicle that rolls off a line this day and age, and now we're feeling the effects of that," Layson said.

While auto manufacturers jostle for priority among chip makers, the need for chips in the consumer electronics sector outweighs that of the automotive sector by 10 to 1, Layson estimates.

He think the effects of the shortage will go beyond production jobs, as they support other jobs in the economy — including at car dealerships.

"Your vehicle is now a rolling computer, so it needs these microchips to function," he said.

He says the best case scenario is that the shortage will be over by March.

With files from the Associated Press

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